Short-term vacation/holiday housing rentals within the city of Norris will no longer be allowed in any zoned residential areas, based on a revised zoning ordinance approved on final reading by the City Council on Monday night (Nov. 14).
The measure will permit the Airbnb-type rentals only in the C-1 and C-2 commercial districts, the P-1 Professional and Civic District and the S-1 Scenic Highway District.
With the ordinance, short-term rental businesses are banned from R-1, R-2 and FAR residential districts in the city. That includes the historic original residential areas of the town that were created by the Tennessee Valley Authority to house workers building Norris Dam in the early 1930s.
The zoning revisions came after the Norris Planning Commission voted in early October to send a proposal to the council for the changes, which initially would have banned the short-term rental businesses in all residential zones except the so-called FAR zone (Forestry/Agriculture/Residential), which mainly encompasses Dairy Pond Road.
But when the council took up the issue earlier in October, Mayor Chris Mitchell signaled that he would also like to ban the holiday rentals from the FAR zone.
Other council members agreed, with Will Grinder and Loretta Painter specifically commenting that they also did not want the rentals to be allowed in the FAR zone.
Earlier this year, the city passed an ordinance allowing and regulating short-term rental businesses in the city, and as it stood until the Monday night action, such rentals were allowed in all zones, including the original, historic areas in the R1 zone.
None have been licensed in those areas, however, so there are none that would be “grandfathered in” until the new zoning restrictions, city officials said Monday night.
Council members signaled at the time the rental ordinance was passed that they wanted to ban the rentals in residential areas, but were told that would have to be done through a change in the city’s zoning and land-use plan. That’s what precipitated the move to amend the zoning law to exclude the rentals from residential areas.
Under the short-term rental ordinance, owners of such properties are required to obtain city permits for their properties and to pay taxes on each rental transaction.
Short-term rentals are defined by the ordinance as being overnight accommodations, other than hotel and bed-and-breakfast lodgings, of at least one night, but no longer than 30 nights.
Under the ordinance, owners of these properties have to pay $250 to apply for a city permit, as well as obtain Anderson County and Norris city business licenses for them. They also must pay an annual $50 fee for renewal of each permit and inspection of the property.
The ordinance left out two provisions the City Council wanted to enforce for short-term rentals: one limiting them to specific zones; and another setting up a city sales tax for rental transactions.
A separate ordinance has since been passed to levy the city sales tax on rentals.