Oak Ridge North City Council members in April debated banning short-term rentals such as Airbnbs due to concerns over safety and quality of life for city residents, and an ordinance will be presented at a future meeting, officials said.

What you need to know

An an April 8 meeting, council members discussed creating a ban on short-term rentals within residential areas in the city due to concerns over noise, property damage and crowding.

City Manager Heather Neeley said city employees found four Airbnbs within the city limits in a noncomprehensive search.

“Currently, there is no state pre-emption on this," City Attorney Brandon Morris said. "Anything we would do really goes back to constitutional rights of you know, property ownership."

Quotes of note

“[In] a city our size—that's less than 2 square miles—no resident should have to deal with that,” Mayor Paul Bond said. “Not one time, not any time. And if they challenge us in court, or if they shoot us down, then so be it. ... Then we'll have to regulate.”

“I'm all for regulating it to the point where they won't even think twice about buying here,” council member Alex Jones said. “They'll go shop in the unincorporated county area, which is, you know, more the kind of area that should be doing that anyways.”

“Late last year, there was a ... Fifth Circuit [Court of Appeals] decision out of New Orleans, I believe, that did uphold licensing [of rentals],” Morris said. “So we've got some pretty clear case law to back us up that if you want a license to regulate, you can.”

What’s next

Council members voted to move forward on drafting an ordinance or permitting language regulating the establishment of short-term rentals within the city limits. The ordinance will come forward at a future council meeting.