Breaking News: Major Amendments to Buncombe County Zoning Laws Impacting Short-Term Rentals

Proposed amendments to Buncombe County Zoning Laws for Short term rentals

In a significant development, Buncombe County, which includes Asheville, North Carolina, is considering major revisions to its zoning regulations, with a special focus on short-term rentals (STRs).

These proposed adjustments are poised to dramatically alter the property landscape, having far-reaching consequences for both real estate professionals and property owners in the region.

Notable Elements of the Anticipated Zoning Regulation Changes:
Limitation to Commercial Areas Should these amendments receive approval, STRs will primarily be confined to commercially zoned regions. This encompasses various zoning areas such as Neighborhood Service (NS), Community Service (CS), Employment (EMP), Public Service (PS), and Commercial Resort (CR). In Open Use Districts, collective clusters of STRs might be permissible, albeit with the necessity of a Special Use Permit.

Preservation of Existing STRs Existing STRs operating outside of commercial zones will be preserved under the new rules. Yet, this exemption, known as 'grandfathering', is fragile. Upon sale of such a property, it forfeits this exemption, which could markedly affect its market value and its viability as an STR.

Adjustments in the Real Estate Sector
The current situation is sparking an increased sense of urgency among real estate agents in Buncombe County, who are assisting clients in the sale of STRs. Many agents are advising that unless these properties are sold prior to the implementation of the new ordinances, they may have to be withdrawn from the market to preserve their non-conforming use status. Consequently, potential buyers are feeling the pressure to finalize their purchases before the new regulations come into effect, in order to secure the STR capabilities of the properties.

Detailed Overview of the Proposed Amendments

  • Restriction on Size: The amendments propose a reduction in the allowable maximum gross floor area for STRs.
  • Definition and Rental Period: There will be a clearer definition of STRs, with a stipulated minimum rental period of two days and a maximum of 30 days.
  • Special Requirements for STRs: For STRs located in commercial zones, there will be the introduction of Special Requirement (SR) standards, covering various operational facets such as parking, waste management, and fire safety.
  • Zoning Permit Process: The introduction of a zoning permit process is planned for legally non-conforming STRs to continue their operation.
  • Rental Activity Requirements: To maintain their non-conforming status, STRs will be required to have a minimum rental activity of two nights every 180 days.
  • Prohibitions: The amendments will also include a ban on STRs in Manufactured Home Parks and in developments that receive county incentives.

Implications for Real Estate Professionals These amendments, if passed, will necessitate a strategic shift for real estate agents in Buncombe County. Emphasis will likely shift towards properties in commercial zones or those with grandfathered non-conforming status. Additionally, real estate education and training may need to adapt to these changes, focusing more on zoning laws and their implications for property sales and investments.

This development represents a significant pivot in local real estate dynamics, underscoring the evolving nature of property management and investment in the Asheville region. As the county grapples with the balance between growth and community interests, the real estate sector remains at the forefront of these transformative changes.

If you own a second home in Asheville or anywhere in Western North Carolina that you would like to convert into a short-term rental, we provide turnkey short-term management solutions.  We help homeowners transform their property into a thriving business.  To learn more about our services, check us out here

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