Council moves forward on budget, short-term rental rules, and Echo Farms


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — After an extended public hearing and discussion, Wilmington City Council approved the first vote of a change to city regulations to allow “homestay” lodging. That refers to renting rooms with a host living in the residence full-time would be permitted in all residential districts and some commercial and mixed-use districts.

This change would also allow “whole-house” lodging, or renting an entire home for short periods of time, but the host who must live in the home at least six months out of year would only be permitted in some mixed use and Commercial Districts.

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A second and final vote on these changes is scheduled for the next council meeting in July.

Dozens of neighbors showed up to push for the regulation and against the Homestay industry.

The city has spent months drafting these new regulations that split short-term rentals into two categories; “homestay” as well as “whole-house” lodging. The latter meaning the home is rented without the owner present.

The ordinance sets up a series of requirements for rentees, but most importantly it will only allow “homestay” rentals in historic residential districts as well as several residential zoned areas.

Council approved the new budget for fiscal year 2018-19. It includes continued funding for core services such as public safety, additional money for maintenance and infrastructure, services for youth, affordable housing and more.

Council joined their counterparts in the county approving the purchase and development of 14-acres in Echo Farms for public park. The city’s total cost for everything in agreement is $1,686,800 and will come from city’s savings account.