Short-term rental properties on radar in Gulfport

Short-term rental properties on radar in Gulfport

GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Barney Creel has been operating BeachView Vacation Cottages in east Gulfport since 2009.

“We get a lot of families,” he said. “Families from Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, north Mississippi.”

His business is in a commercially-zoned area.

“We follow everything by the book,” Creel said. “We do vacation rentals here. We collect sales tax, both the seven percent regular sales tax and the five percent lodging.”

On Thursday, the Gulfport Planning Commission will have a public meeting to define what short-term rental properties are and where those properties can be located – either by permission or by right.

Creel’s worried that the playing field is not level, and he is against short-term rentals in neighborhoods.

“My son grew up in a single-family neighborhood, and he knew every one of the neighbors,” he said. “He went to their houses. If you take away the integrity of the neighborhood, families won’t have that. Every three or four days, somebody new coming in that you don’t know.”

He wants to see regulation.

“Yeah, it needs to be regulated and done right,” Creel said. “And not only do you need to protect the single-family residential neighborhoods, but you also need to protect the commercial vacation rental people that do it as a business.”

The ordinance would require a license by and through the Department of Urban Development.

To get it, operators have to meet all the requirements that would include things like smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

“This whole country, this world, has moved to a shared economy,” said Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes. “So, just like you’ve seen the advent of Lyft and Uber, this is kind of Uber for residences in a large respect. So, it’s changed the way people stay, changed the way they’ve traveled and vacationed. So, it’s something we’re trying to find a good way again to get that balance.”

The planning commission will meet at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, but short-term rentals will be the last item on the agenda.

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