An STR is a unit rented for less than a month and is usually booked online, Georgetown Economic Development Director Michaela Dollar said. She added that despite the pandemic, the use of STRs has been growing rapidly increasing from 8% in total lodging revenue in 2019 to 25% in 2020.
Staff provided four recommendations of how to regulate the STRs, from no regulation to high regulation.
Dollar recommended that the city consider regulating STRs as it would help preserve the community’s character and help recover lost revenue from the non-regulation. Cari Miller, Georgetown’s Convention and Visitors Bureau tourism manager, added that non-regulation cost the city approximately $90,000 in added revenue.
Currently, the city is only able to regulate STRs via noise ordinances, occupancy limits and a parking ordinances, city officials said.
Dollar added that staff research could not link most noise complaints to STRs.
“We are trying to create something now for a problem that does not currently exist,” Council Member Kevin Pitts said. “I don’t know if it’s even worth our time at this point. We don’t need to overregulate just because we can.”
Based on recommendations, Council decided to direct staff to provide locations of STRs to help dictate any possible action in the future, but at the moment no action will be taken, Mayor Josh Schroeder said.
STRs are not required to register with the city, but are able to be located based on hotel occupancy tax collection, Miller said.
As of April 27, only 29 STRs are paying a hotel occupancy tax, but there is an estimated 124 STRs in Georgetown with most starting in the last year, Miller added.