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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A Louisville Metro Council committee on Tuesday advanced proposed changes to the city’s regulation of short-term rentals on sites like Airbnb.

The 6-0 committee vote moves the proposed ordinance to the full 26-member council, where it could be made law at the April 25 meeting.

The changes, primarily championed by Highlands-area council member Brandon Coan, would require newly permitted homes and apartments that are available fulltime as short-term rentals to be 600 feet apart in residential areas.

Another new rule would prohibit the advertising of a rental on a site like Airbnb without including the Louisville Metro registration number within the online post. That’s aimed at helping the city’s zoning enforcement officers identify illegal operators and request that the platforms remove them.

“We think it will make it easier for us to enforce” the short-term rental rules, Jeff O’Brien, director of Develop Louisville, a division of the city’s economic development department.

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The 600-foot rule would apply only to newly permitted short-term rentals. Those that already been approved since the city first adopted the rules in 2016 would be grandfathered.

Under the rule, a short-term rental that is not the primary residence of the rental host would not be given a permit if it’s within 600 feet of another short-term rental that is also not a primary residence.

The goal is to prevent neighborhood blocks from becoming commercialized with de-facto hotels, while still allowing Airbnb homes that are not the primary residence of the person listing them for rent.

“What we hear about that from neighbors is that they don’t who lives next door to them anymore,” said Metro Council member Bill Hollander, who favors banning non-host-occupied short-term rentals altogether in residential areas. “… I do think the 600-feet provision is very important to neighborhood stability.”

O’Brien said 601 feet is the median distance between short-term rentals that already have city permits, thus the origin of the 600-foot standard.

While Metro government requires all short-term rentals to be registered, those that are not the primary residence of the host also require a conditional use permit, which is a longer and costlier process than filling out registration paperwork.

No changes will take effect in time for the May 4 Kentucky Debry weekend, which is the busiest time of the year for short-term rentals in Louisville, Coan said during the hearing.

Other proposed changes include:

-          Giving the city’s planning director authority to revoke a short-term rental registration or permit after two “substantiated” civil or criminal complaints and/or violations of the short-term rental rules within a year

-          Increasing the registration fee from a one-time $25 to an annual $100

-          Having the planning director request that platforms like Airbnb provide monthly reports on the number of rental properties and nights rented in Louisville Metro, and authorizing the director to subpoena the information from the platforms

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2019 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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Chris Otts reports for WDRB.com about business and economic topics, higher education and local / state government. He joined WDRB News in 2013 after seven years with The Courier-Journal. Got a tip? Chris is at 502-585-0822 and cotts@wdrb.com.