City of Laurel works toward Airbnb regulations

City of Laurel works toward Airbnb regulations

Laurel, MS (WDAM) - City leaders in Laurel are looking for ways to regulate Airbnb rentals due to an increase in tourism and a high-level of interest among residents.

Superintendent of Inspections Harold Russell said not everyone is thrilled about the internet platform that allows people to rent out their room and/or homes.

“It’s created an increase in traffic in particular neighborhoods, and some of the neighborhood’s long-term property owners feel like their tranquility is being intruded upon,” said Russell.

He said the idea to regulate the rentals came after several members of the community voiced mixed concerns over the use of Airbnbs in their neighborhoods.

Peggy Padilla, who’s lived in Laurel her entire life, said she understands the need for regulations but encourages the idea of more Airbnbs.

“I’ve stayed in Airbnbs, and I believe that it’s helpful to have people that are coming into our community or people that live in our community that are beautifying things by providing new and interesting places for people to stay,” said Padilla.

Russell said the ordinance was written by the Planning Commission and was based off of what other surrounding municipalities have done.

The ordinance was presented to city council members during Tuesday’s committee meeting but was put on hold due to discontent among councilmen in regards to wording and listed regulations.

Currently, the city says Airbnbs do not fit under the city’s current short-term rental agreement that’s specifically directed toward bed and breakfasts.

“There’s no breakfast involved,” said Russell. “Basically, you just come and go as you please.”

The council said once the changes have been made, they will vote on a final version of the ordinance.

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