Short-term rentals in residential areas banned in Jefferson Parish

JEFFERSON PARISH, LA (WVUE) - The Jefferson Parish Council voted unanimously Wednesday to ban short-term rentals in residential areas.

"You will not be able to engage in short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods in Jefferson Parish," said Council Chairman Cynthia Lee-Sheng.

She said short-term rentals are not a good fit for neighborhoods.

"We were receiving complaints about this practice from about three years ago, and we didn't have any rules in place," Lee-Sheng said.

Many short-term rentals happen as a result of property owners listing their properties on websites like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway.

After approving a number of amendments to the proposed ordinance, the council approved the new law to the delight of some civic and neighborhood organizations.

"We've discussed this matter at length and we are totally opposed to short-term rentals in residential areas," said Jim Young, President of the Bissonet Civic Association.

"The Civic League totally supports the proposal," said former Council Chairman Bob Evans with the East Jefferson Civic League.

"When it comes to short-term rentals, there are a lot of irresponsible people out there. All they see is money," said Al Morella, a resident of Kenner.

Two people urged the council to delay a vote.

"As you get older, your retirement is very limited, and we're not planning on using this tomorrow, but we were potentially thinking about using this in time to come, so I am opposed to this regulation as written," said Josephine Shields.

"I do think it would probably benefit everyone if you all would think about this a little more," said Jonathan Perrow.

Lee-Sheng said the council needed to act now.

Short-term rentals are not only banned in residential areas, but also in industrial districts. They are allowed in commercial areas, but the council has passed several regulations.

"If you look at our residential zoning, so much of the parish is residential zoning and traditional, and really, everyone - the civic groups and the leaders in the neighborhood - really do not want this practice happening in their neighborhoods. People want to know who lives on their street, they want to know the patterns of their neighborhood and really don't want strangers coming in and out," Lee-Sheng said.

And under the ordinance passed by the Jefferson Parish Council, property owners already engaging in short-term rentals will be given time to stop that sort of business.

"We're giving them a year more for legal purposes. We do know that they're booking way ahead of time, and we're doing that to make sure that this legislation sticks. And so if you have a neighbor next door to you that is engaging in this practice, they do have a year to continue doing so, but after that the practice will have to stop, and we will enforce it," said Lee-Sheng.

The ban does not apply to long-term housing rentals. And there are exemptions for camps located outside the levee system, as well as for filming. Those who are allowed to engage in short-term rentals will need to get a parish license and have a zoning clearance.

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