AURORA — At its March 12 meeting, City Council OK’d establishing a moratorium until Dec. 31 on short-term (less than 30 days) residential real estate rentals.
According to Law Director Dean DePiero, the moratorium will allow the administration time to review the zoning regulations covering short-term rentals.
The moratorium targets rentals offered on websites such as airbnb, which allow homeowners to rent homes for weekends or a few days at a time.
"These short-term rentals create a transient situation in which city officials and neighbors don’t know who is occupying those homes," explained DePiero. "There have been some problems in other communities with these types of rental."
A New Year’s Eve incident in Seven Hills, where someone rented a home for the evening, resulted in more than 300 partygoers trashing the house and brought forth many safety concerns from neighbors.
"We can’t make these types of rentals illegal, but we can draft legislation to control them," said DePiero. "Another concern is that the city bed tax is not being paid when someone rents homes in this fashion."
DePiero said if the city finds out about a violation during the moratorium, a letter would be sent to the offending property owner, who would have 15 days to comply. Non-compliance would result in a citation being issued.
A first offense is punishable by a fine of $150, a second offense by a fine of $250 and 30 days in jail and third and subsequent offenses by a $500 fine and 60 days in jail for each occurrence.
Council also extended a moratorium (not to exceed 60 days) on issuance of any permits for activation or installation of any distributed antenna system, small cell technology or nodes for communication purposes.
DePiero explained a state law passed several months ago took away a city’s right to regulation such utilities in the rights-of-way. Several communities filed a class action lawsuit, resulting in revisions to the law being proposed.
"We’re hoping to negotiate a resolution and get home rule back for communities," DePiero said. "We believe the revisions will be passed soon, but until that happens we’re extending the moratorium."
Meanwhile, Council reps are considering reinstating a part-time city engineer to full time. The ordinance will be on second reading at Council’s March 26 meeting.
City Engineer Justin Czekaj told Council the engineering department previously was staffed with two full-time licensed engineers — himself and another person — and one engineer in training, but the other full-timer was reduced to part-time.
"Because of the increase in development activities, programs and capital improvement projects, the city has an extreme need [for the full-time position]," he said. "The major benefit to filling the position is to assist in managing the entire workload of the department."
The ordinance proposes a salary range of between $50,605 and $97,520.
• Purchases of three pieces of equipment were OK’d by Council — a Scag Turf Tiger mower for $12,169 from Chagrin Pet, Garden & Power Equipment Supply; a Smithco infield groomer with attachments for $18,035 from Baker Vehicle Systems; and a Kubota enclosed cab tractor with a mower attachment for $62,783 from Mentor MFG.
• Council reps appropriated $7,250 from the fire paramedic levy fund to reflect a grant received from the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation for purchase of firefighter protective hoods, and authorized the mayor to advertise city surplus equipment for sale via auction.
• The city accepted a donation of two pediatric bags from University Hospitals valued at $1,100 each for use by the fire department.
Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400 Ext. 4189 or firstname.lastname@example.org