Like communities across the state and nation, the City of Wilmington is considering the best way to handle short-term rentals, an issue that has emerged recently with the increased use of short-term rental websites by travelers who want alternative accommodations for lodging.
City Council to discuss whole house rentals on January 7
This worksession will immediately following the January 7 agenda briefing and will center around two options for regulating whole house rentals in the city. The first option would not permit whole house rentals in any residential district. The second option would allow whole house rentals in residential districts, but with some limit on the total number of whole house rentals in the city and/or minimum separation requirements between whole house rentals.
The agenda briefing will begin at 8:30 am in the City Council chambers and this discussion will follow. The meeting is open to the public but this is not a public hearing. You can listen to the proceedings here.
Please note: Any action by Council to amend city ordinances must include a public hearing in a publicly-advertised meeting, so any proposed changes being considered would be voted on at a future Council meeting.
Background & process to date
On Friday, Oct. 26, the Wilmington City Council held a meeting to discuss short-term rentals.
Although the meeting was open to the public, a public hearing was not held and no actions took place at the meeting. This was a follow up to the Council action taken at the July 17 City Council meeting when legislation on short-term room rentals was approved. See below to view a copy of the staff report from that meeting. This meeting focused on consideration of “whole-house” short-term lodging in residential districts.
July 17, 2018
The amendment to the Land Development Code outlined below was approved on second and final reading by City Council.
June 19, 2018
On June 19, City Council held a public hearing on short-term rentals at their regularly scheduled meeting. On the first of two required votes, council approved a change to city regulations to allow “homestay” lodging, or renting up to three bedrooms, including an accessory dwelling unit, with the host living in the residence full-time. This would be permitted in all residential districts and some commercial and mixed-use districts.
The change would also allow “whole-house” lodging, or renting an entire home for short periods of time in some mixed-use and commercial districts only. The effective date of the changes would be March 1, 2019.
Council indicated they will consider the issue of “whole-house” short-term lodging in residential districts at their Oct. 2, 2018 regular meeting.
April 30, 2018
On April 30, City Council continued their discussion, focusing specifically on homestay uses within residential (R, M, and H) zoning districts and whole-house lodging and homestay lodging within the mixed-use and commercial districts. At the direction of council, code amendments related to these two focus areas will be scheduled for a public hearing. The issue of whole-house lodging within residential districts will be scheduled for a separate public hearing at a later date.
March 16, 2018
The Wilmington City Council and Planning Commission held a joint work session on the proposed draft on Friday, March 16.
January 29, 2018
The planning commission concluded the public hearing on their review of the proposed code amendments on January 29, 2018.
December 6, 2017
The Planning Commission held a public hearing on short-term rentals during their regular meeting on December 6. At the meeting, the Planning Commission voted to continue the proposed amendment to their January 3, 2018 meeting. The discussion for the proposed short-term lodging amendment will begin at 4 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall. The draft amendment will not be changed before that meeting.
November 20, 2017
Staff presented information at a City Council worksession.
October 18, 2017
The Planning Commission held a work session to discuss proposed changes to the code. Following a public input session, the Planning Commission discussed proposed draft amendments.
- Reference materials provided by speakers:
August 23, 2017
The Planning Commission held a work session on August 23rd to continue their discussion of potential code amendments for “homestay” and “whole house rentals.” The commission’s next special work session will be held in mid-October to allow city staff time to revise the draft ordinance in accordance with recent discussions. The October session will be formatted to receive informal public input (no formal public hearing at this time) before continuing their consideration of any amendments. Any code changes will require formal public hearings before both the Planning Commission and City Council. Listen to the proceedings here.
July 12, 2017
On Wednesday, July 12, 2017, the Wilmington Planning Commission held a work session to discuss short-term rentals. Listen to the proceedings here
June 7, 2017
At the direction of the City Manager, staff has reviewed existing code and researched benchmark cities for current practices related to short-term rentals. Short-term rentals fall into several categories, ranging from the rental of a single bedroom, to several bedrooms, to an entire home. The level of supervision of the property also varies, depending on the situation. Read more
The Wilmington Planning Commission held a work session on Wednesday, June 7 to discuss staff research and draft regulations regarding short-term rentals.
May 15, 2017
View below a summary of the draft regulations on short-term rentals that were presented on May 15. Staff will amend these regulations as directed and bring a revised version to the Planning Commission for a public hearing at a date to be determined.
April 17, 2017
Below is some information resulting from the March 14 public input meeting:
February 20, 2017
At the City Council work session on Feb. 20, staff presented options related to potential regulations for short-term lodging, both for “homestay” (rental of a bedroom, with the home occupied by primary resident) and “short-term rentals” (a whole-house rental in which the primary resident is not present during the rental period).
- In residential districts, homestays would be regulated similar to bed & breakfasts, with a primary resident on site during the rental period, and a separation distance required between establishments.
- Council was presented with two alternatives for short-term lodging:
- to allow rentals only during designated events, such as Azalea Festival and Riverfest, OR
- to allow rentals up to 30 days per calendar year.
- In commercial districts, homestays, bed & breakfasts, and whole-house rentals would be permitted in the same districts where hotels/motels are permitted.
- As with bed & breakfast inns, the primary resident of homestays and whole house rentals in any zoning district would need to register annually with the city.
Council directed staff to get additional public input before finalizing recommendations. Any recommendations will have to be considered by both the Planning Commission and City Council.
- Listen to the presentation and discussion from the Feb. 20 agenda briefing
- View the presentation from the Feb. 20 agenda briefing
- View the draft recommendations presented at the Feb. 20 agenda briefing
November 18, 2016
Council heard an update on this issue at their Nov. 18, 2016 budget retreat. See the attachments below for more detail.
October 3, 2016
A brief report was presented to City Council on Monday, October 3.See the links below for details
June 20, 2016
A brief report was presented to City Council on Monday, June 20. After discussion of the various issues brought up in the attachments below, it was determined that staff will hold another public input session and provide a framework for addressing the many issues outline in the presentation. No specific dates have been set but we will inform you as the process is determined in the coming weeks.
May 2, 2016
Below is the information received from the March public input meeting and online survey. This information was compiled and presented to City Council on May 2.
- May 2 presentation
- Input Summary
- Survey results from the public meeting
- Comments from the public meeting
- Online Survey Results
If you have further questions, please call 910-341-4661
March 17, 2016