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Lexington Council committee begins review of rules for rural short-term rentals

Stu Johnson

Lexington City Council members are considering ways to permit more short-term rentals in rural Fayette County. The conversation, in a Council setting, started earlier this week.

Regulation of short-term rentals within the urban services boundary has been a hot topic at City Hall. During committee questions and answers, Bluegrass Land Conservancy Board Chair Margaret Graves said attitudes vary about more short-term rentals in rural areas.

“There were people within the rural service area who are adamantly opposed to any of these existing in the rural service area. There were people in the rural service area who very much wanted them. And we, as a committee, tried to find the middle ground with recommendations,” said Graves.

Those include only allowing hosted S-T-Rs going forward in rural areas and not permitting new construction of short-term rentals.

After nearly eight months of study by the Rural Land Management Board, ten recommendations were presented to a Council committee this week. Another one sets out that special events at new sites be limited to the number of people staying at a S-T-R. Tracy Jones in the Law Department was asked about a wedding venue possibility.

“If you have, whatever is permitted in this…if you say it’s eight in a S- T-R and those eight people are there for the weekend and they’re celebrating something…I mean that’s gonna be ok…what you can’t have is those eight people are there for the weekend and 75 more come,” said Jones.

Council Member Chuck Ellinger expressed concern that the suggested regs, particularly requiring hosted STRs, may not apply fairly to all STR participants. Council Member Whitney Baxter said there might be a lot of restrictions that would be difficult to enforce. Final action is likely months away.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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