Zoar Council addresses Airbnb rentals

Zoar Council addresses Airbnb rentals

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At its June 14 meeting Zoar Village Council addressed concerns about the number of Airbnb properties permitted in the village. Council President Gayle Potelicki said a number of properties are up for sale with potential buyers interested in using them as short-term Airbnb rentals. She asked council to consider limiting the number allowed.

Village Solicitor Doug Frautschy and Mayor Scott Gordon both brought up the possible passage of OH-HB536, which has passed through the Ohio House of Representatives. If the bill passes through the senate, it will strip municipalities of the power to limit the number of Airbnbs.

The village currently has two Airbnbs operating with conditional use permits, which would be grandfathered in if the village were to prohibit them altogether. A current village ordinance requires owners to reside at the property. Safety Committee Chair Tom Klingaman said the two existing Airbnbs are in compliance with village regulations.

Council agreed the negative impacts of multiple Airbnb rentals, including lack of revenue for the village since there would be no bed tax collected, outweigh the positive, and more research is needed into how they may be regulated. In the meantime, proposed changes to the zoning ordinance governing short-term rentals will be drafted.

Reports to council

Klingaman reported for the safety committee that he and Gordon met with Josh Mathias, New Philadelphia’s zoning and street administrator, to learn how the city deals with dilapidated properties. They were told that New Philadelphia has adopted the International Property Maintenance Code, which gives them the authority to enforce zoning code violations.

Gordon said the city of New Philadelphia and the Village of Zoar have different goals, with Zoar favoring preservation and restoration of historic properties over demolition when owners fail to comply. Klingaman will review the IPMC and present findings of the meeting with Mathias to both the Planning Commission and David Hayes, village zoning officer.

Street Commissioner David Irwin presented a bid he received for paving through the county engineer’s office from Barbicas Construction in Akron. The bid of $70,356 is higher than expected, according to Irwin, but he suggested council allow for the paving as prices are unlikely to come down in the near future. Council voted to accept the bid and move forward with paving in 2022.

Council also voted to spend $220 for two additional storm water risers at Irwin’s request and to appropriate $200 from PEP insurance funds for a new swing set seat at the Zoar School House.

In his solicitor’s report, Frautschy said he updated a proposed weed and litter ordinance to allow conservation/wetlands to exceed the height limit on grass and weeds.

Levee update

In his mayor’s report, Gordon presented a letter to be mailed to residents explaining the status of levee repairs by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Council agreed to send the letter. Gordon said the Corps plans to work longer days and some Saturdays in order to complete construction by the end of October. Gordon will ask the Corps to increase street cleaning if possible and to power wash buildings that accumulate heavy dust.

Gordon also said County Engineer Joe Bachman told Irwin the county will not be paving Dover-Zoar Road atop the levee, so the village will move ahead with the process of detaching the road.

Public Comments

Council heard from Bolivar Police Sergeant Jeff Stearns that he is leaving Bolivar for a position with the Sugarcreek Police Department. Stearns said Eric Minor will be his replacement for policing the village.

Legislation

Council passed an ordinance to accept minor changes to the fire contract with Bolivar and Lawrence Township, as well as an ordinance setting the maximum height for grass and weeds at 12 inches, at which point residents are required to mow.