Gulfport mayor against further regulation on short-term rentals

Noah Noble joins live from Gulfport City Hall with new details.
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 6:34 PM CST
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Mayor Billy Hewes addressed Gulfport City Council on Tuesday about an ordinance that would place further regulation on short-term rentals.

The mayor recommended against the proposal.

“In a real deep analysis of all this, a lot of the concerns are around parking or around noise, and we already have ordinances in place for that,” Hewes said.

During the city council meeting, the mayor attributed an outpouring of concern from rental owners and a lack of manpower to uphold the required inspections detailed in the proposed regulation.

”Quite frankly, this is a self-regulating business to a great degree,” Hewes said. “The fact that [short-term rental owners] live and die off of ratings has a lot to do with self-regulation. But the fact of the matter is, it would put an additional burden for additional personnel and additional work for our already strapped urban developing department, which would’ve made it difficult to live up to those particular ordinances. So, in the final analysis, we looked at it, and feel that what is in place now does not justify additional burdensome regulations.”

City Council took a vote and unanimously agreed to scrap the proposed regulations.

Short-term rental owners at the meeting told WLOX News they’re happy with the outcome, but they do want some further regulation, like a business permit and a local contact system that would put first responders in direct contact with the owners in case of an emergency.

Mayor Hewes said those options are not off the table and tweaks could be made to current regulations down the road, but the mayor added that he will not seek further regulation on Short Term Rentals until his current term in office expires.

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