Carthage: The future of short-term rentals

The Town of Carthage Planning Board met on Thursday evening. The main topic under examination was what to do about short-term rentals. These rentals are generally for 90 days or less, and the board discussed whether or not it would be a good idea to regulate them further. The board agreed that one of the most important things was to have an actual definition: What is a short-term rental?

Town Planner Jennifer Hunt explained that the planning staff had proposed to amend the unified development ordinance language for “short-term rentals” to address interest in residents being able to host such rentals in the community. It was proposed that a short-term rental should be defined as “a rental of any residential home unit or accessory building for a short period of time, less than 90 days.”

Short-term rentals are currently permitted only in the residential agricultural district, purely residential areas, and the residential historic district.

Town staff also proposed to allow for short-term rental in the central business district, roughly in the area of the Moore County Courthouse. This would allow visitors renting these properties to walk and enjoy dining and shopping without needing a car. The town is interested in welcoming visitors and local citizens to walk around and experience the community.

There was some concern about reported problems in Pinehurst, particularly rowdy, late-night parties and parking on lawns. A year ago, the Village allowed existing short-term rental properties to continue but banned new ones in those areas not grandfathered in. This was a concern, primarily considering the upcoming U.S. Open.

One of the points of contention in Carthage is the requirement that a property owner or authorized representative, such as a property manager, live within one mile of the property. Some board members pointed out that this restriction may be inconvenient to the property owner or manager.

The Planning Board decided to go ahead and allow short-term rentals within the central business district but tabled the rest of the issue (definition of short-term rental and requirements that a property owner or manager live within a mile of the property) pending further research, consultation with the town’s attorney and other considerations.

Town Planner Jennifer Hunt made a short presentation on “multi-modal” transportation: trails, paths and bicycle paths connected to Carthage’s sidewalk system. She cited a study saying that these trails and paths can have a positive impact on the economy, health, and the environment by reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Another community benefit she cited was the encouragement of interaction between people. Roads as they now exist are comprised mainly of traffic lanes, but a “complete street” would allow for bike paths, pedestrian paths, and trails. 

Feature photo: Carthage sign by Sandhills Sentinel photographer Melissa Schaub.

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel reporter Steve Biddle.

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