Residents Torn Over Neighborhood Summer Vacation Rentals - - The News for South Mississippi


Residents Torn Over Neighborhood Summer Vacation Rentals

Michigan native Tim VanderHaar rented this beach home on Belle Fontaine for a week to simply enjoy life, along with 11 family members.

"My sister-in-law and her family live up by Florence, Mississippi. My father-in-law is in Florida, so he found the rental property and figured it would be a good place for us all to meet for a week," said VanderHaar.

He's one of hundreds of vacationers who rents beachfront property near St. Andrews Golf Course on a daily or weekly basis.

"We have done 1400 confirmations over the past year. Now some of those are multiple bookings, they'll book more than one property. And our average group would be about 8 people," said Rental Resources realtor Connie Bartenbach.

A private beach is one of the main attractions to vacationers - no large neon signs, no traffic, just nature.

But only temporarily, and it's that word "temporarily" that has some people pretty upset."

At a town meeting Thursday evening with District 5 Supervisor John McKay, some residents voiced the opinion that the word "temporarily" should mean renters stay at least a month or more, like the county's ordinance suggests.

"I do not support the one day rentals that have been occurring, and I don't support it because it generates generally a very large number of people, lots of noise and lots of traffic," said resident Jay Walker.

"I'm obviously against anything less than a monthly rental. I think it's a residential neighborhood and we should try to preserve our neighborhood," said resident Mike Loving.

Some support weekly rental with stipulations, and others say they should take any type of rental the neighborhood properties can get.

"It's far better for the neighborhood to have occupants in these homes rather than them sit vacant or empty for long periods of time," said resident Shawn Lobree.

The neighborhood opinions ran the gamut, and now it is up to county leaders to determine who stays for a while, and who has to go.

The opinions voiced will be taken under consideration as the board of supervisors determine whether to change the ordinance, or enforce the existing one.

By Karla Redditte

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