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  • Deciphering the short term rental proposed new restrictions

    Tuesday, March 19, 2024   /   by Amy Brown

    Deciphering the short term rental proposed new restrictions

    Yesterday evening was the final public forum on the short term rental changes proposed for Buncombe county. I know that AVL Today, the local newsletter, put out some information but some of that was incorrect. So let's talk about what this could look like moving forward and how you can still invest in the short term rental market in the Asheville area.

    Important points to know:

    Existing short term rentals will still be allowed to operate with some new rules to follow. You must:

    1. provide existing documentation that the property has been an STR within the last 180 days

    2. obtain a new zoning permit allowing legal, non-conforming use

    3. renew zoning permit annually

    4. rent the property for at least 2 nights every 180 days


    Each short term rental unit will be required to have:

    1. a parking area and if parking is for 4 spaces or more, you must provide a vegetative buffer from adjoining residences

    2. weekly removal of trash and recycling in separate 90 gallon containers

    3. 2 or more rentals on the same parcel must have at least 20' of space in between

    4. every rental must have a bathroom

    5. any freestanding signage shall not exceed 10 sf and only one sign is allowed

    6. ***this is a big one!
    - a property manager or whoever is the assigned person to care for the guests needs will need to be within a 50 mile radius of the property AT ALL TIMES while it is occupied. Management contact information must be provided to the county and posted at the property.

    7. address must be easily seen from the exterior

    8. maximum size for up to 1 acre is 4,000 sf and over 1 acre is 8,000 sf


    You cannot:


    1. New STRs will only be allowed in zones, NS, CS, EMP, PS, and CR. Basically, commercial use only. No longer can you have a new STR in an open use zoned area.

    2. No STRs in protected ridgeline or steep slope ordinance areas regardless of zoning.

    3. No STRs in planned communities receiving county development incentives.

    4. No gatherings of more than 10 people unless you have obtained a permit from the Buncombe county events center.

    5. STRs serviced by septic systems can no more than 2 guests per bedroom.

    6. No STRs in mobile home parks.

    7. No STRs in RVs, travel trailers, sheds, tents, or accessory structures not meant for permanent habitation.

    8. No STRs in duplexes, townhomes, or multi-family units.

    WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR MAKING THESE CHANGES?

    1. Planning staff present the proposed changes, research, and a summary of the Comprehensive Plan guidance to the Planning Board (PB) at public meetings.

    2. The PB holds additional public meetings to review, discuss, request changes, and hear public comment.

    3. The PB holds a public hearing to recommend which changes they want to propose to the Commissioners.

    4. The Commissioners review the recommended changes, have discussions, request more information or changes, and hear public comment.

    5. The Commissioners hold a public hearing to formally adopt the final version of the text amendments. 

    The next planning board meeting is set for April 1 with the public hearing to be held on April 22nd. There will be a final commissioner's meeting following that and then the formal adoption. My prediction is that a decision will be made by late May or June but no date has been set yet.

    What does this mean for those looking to invest in a short term rental property?

    You will need to purchase sooner rather than later because of one reason; once and if the restrictions go into place, short term rental property demand will spike and so will the price. Any existing short term rental will become a premium commodity since building a new one will be difficult and restrictive at best. 

    Take a look at your plans and talk to me about ways that we can get your purchase completed earlier in the season rather than after the restrictions have been put into place. This way we can ensure that you are paying today's prices and not a high demand cost.