Lake Norman & Mooresville

Lake Norman rentals may require OK

Town commissioners are considering rules that would require Lake Norman property owners to receive town board approval – including a public hearing – before they could offer their homes as vacation rentals.

Commissioners also are exploring whether to limit the rental homes to areas that allow only multifamily housing.

After some residents complained earlier this year about parking and noise at what they said was a vacation rental home, town attorney Bill Brown researched how communities elsewhere in North Carolina and the rest of the country regulate such homes.

Commissioners took no action after Brown reported his findings at a “pre-agenda” session before the regular town board meeting last week. Instead, town planners said they would lay out several options the board can consider at its Sept. 15 meeting.

Commissioners varied in their opinions of the proposals. Commissioner Jim Bensman, for instance, said the town should not regulate such kinds of property uses.

Owners of vacation rental homes must obtain a permit to operate in Cornelius. But they don't need a more rigorous “conditional use” permit that would require a public hearing, notice to neighbors of the hearing, and ultimate approval from the town board.

Even so, only two such homes have obtained a permit to operate in Cornelius, assistant town manager Andrew Grant said.

The town knows that at least 30 such homes are in Cornelius, based on advertisements that officials said they've seen in various publications.

Resident Caroline Lentz of Island Forest Drive said she hopes commissioners will more strongly regulate the homes.

Citing parking and other problems from one such home on her road, Lentz urged commissioners at last week's town board meeting to ban the homes from single-family neighborhoods.