Meyer Park Residents concerned by short-term rentals

By Melanie LeCroy / melanie@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 11/10/21

Residents of one Gulf Shores neighborhood voiced concern regarding the proposed Conditional Use Permit (CUP) and development of the Island Villas property in the Meyer Park neighborhood.

Gulf …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Meyer Park Residents concerned by short-term rentals

Posted

Residents of one Gulf Shores neighborhood voiced concern regarding the proposed Conditional Use Permit (CUP) and development of the Island Villas property in the Meyer Park neighborhood.

Gulf Shores Zoning Administrator Andy Bauer made a presentation to the city council during the work session Nov. 1 regarding the Island Villas property located at 325 East 22nd Ave. The property currently has a 16-unit multi-family complex of long-term rentals that rent for $500 to $700 a month. The property is within the Waterway Village Overlay District and it is zoned R-4 Residential/High-Density Multi-family District. The property is boarded by commercial properties on two sides and residential on the other two sides.

The applicant, WKH Holdings, LLC. is seeking a CUP that would allow the property to be used for short-term vacation rentals. A CUP is required due to the property zoning.

 If approved, the property would include 11 one-bedroom units ranging in size from 392 to 489 square feet and five two-bedroom units with 689 square feet. The building, constructed in the early 1970s, will undergo a full interior and exterior renovation. New landscaping, pool, parking lot renovation, and lighting will be installed.

According to Bauer, parking was the one concern brought up during the October Planning Commission meeting. It was also brought up during the City Council presentation by Councilperson Joe Garris and numerous Meyer Park residents.

“One of the main topics of conversation at the Planning Commission meeting was the amount of parking on the site versus the uses of the site. They did ask several questions about that and we answered it as well as we could,” said Bauer.

The existing site has 26 parking spaces but the Waterway Village Overlay parking requirements only allow 23. The site plan calls for eight of the existing parking spaces to be replaced by a pool amenity area. By right, the development only needs 11 parking spaces, but the site will have 18 spaces and a six-space bike rack.

Garris said his concern was overflow parking. Many families arrive in multiple vehicles and if the complex was at 100% occupancy there could be a shortage of parking available.

“Where are the additional three cars going to park? On the side of the road or where? I am just looking for an overflow issue here. Depending on what they rent these for I can see two families going into a two bedroom versus a family with kids going in with one car. If you come up not covering that you are going to have issues with cars,” Garris said. “It’s a neighborhood and not down on the beach so I am trying to look ahead at this situation of parking on the street or something.”

Bauer said there is a city-owned right of way on 22nd Avenue that could accommodate some on street parking spots. The developer would have to apply for approval and go through the proper channels to build on street parking. He also stated that the regulations are based on a maximum occupancy of this complex as well as others.

“In our opinion there is going to be less percentage of time, even in the summertime that this will be 100% occupied. We believe that the proposal of 18 parking spaces will, in most cases, be enough to accommodate this site,” Bauer said.

Mayor Robert Craft asked Bauer if the Planning Commission had any conversation about introducing short-term rentals into a traditional single-family neighborhood. The introduction of short-term rentals was also raised by all three Meyer Park residents that were present for the council meeting.

“There was some discussion on that I believe but there wasn’t as much discussion on that as the parking questions,” Bauer continued. “The reason staff is in favor of introducing short-term rentals in this location is because it is in the Waterway Village Overlay District. Again, one individual has purchased this property and is trying to transform the whole 16-unit complex into short term rental as opposed to long term. If this was not in the Waterway Village Overlay District, staff would likely have a different view and recommendation on this application,” Bauer said.

Wayne Holliman, the property owner and applicant took the opportunity to speak to the council about his excitement to be a part of the Waterway Village District and to answer a few of the questions raised by the council. He said after the Planning Commission meeting, he put a parking pass system in place that will be patrolled by the property management company and the on-site property manager that lives in the Meyer Park neighborhood. He said he is also looking for a solution to the overflow parking concern but does not have a solution at this time. Holliman also said that due to the size of the units, he does not imagine more than one family will share a unit.

The last resident to speak during the open discussion was Cheryl Lanning of 532 24th Avenue. She raised several questions.

“I pretty much resent the fact you all want to put short-term rentals in my neighborhood. I just don’t think it’s right. What else is it going to come to? You are saying this is going to become a catalyst for other redevelopment and rezoning in that area. What does that mean for us single family people living here? I can hardly get out of East 24th Avenue now during the summertime, the kids here for spring break and the snowbirds. It’s like how much do you all have to zone commercial to get more tourists here? When is it ever going to end? Is it just going to keep going on and on to where the local people can’t get anywhere? I’d like to know those answers,” Lanning said.

Craft responded, “I don’t know that I can answer you all of that today other than to tell you it has been the focus of this council to look closely at growth management citywide and negotiating with developers to try to down zone, create alternative products and rentals that will exist in areas that will be less than they could build by right.”

Craft continued, “It’s not a decision we have made, it’s not one we will make lightly. This is your opportunity to do exactly what you are doing and plant the seed and let us know what you think and let us take that into consideration. We will do that in a public forum so you will be able to come back and have a public meeting and we will listen.”

The Island Villas CUP will be advertised for a public hearing and will come up for vote some time in December.