On October 4th, the Dothan City Commission approved ordinance 2022-267 (establishing performance standards) and Ordinance 2022-268 (creating a business license classification, establishing the license fee, requiring lodging taxes, a compliance process, and other requirements).
The city has contracted with Avenu Insights and Analytics to provide full-service administrative services for program implementation. They will be involved in the administration of this program. Their role will include:
- Educate STR operators about compliance & regulation requirements, set up taxpayer accounts, coordinate and communicate with hosts, post and reconcile tax payments and filings, and discover/contact non-compliant STR operators.
- Deploy a citizen tip line and online tip (complaint) form for reporting non-compliant STRs (safety, noise, trash, party houses, parking).
- Proactively reach out to real estate purchasers and developers about STR obligations, therefore building a sustainable commitment.
- Provide industry best practices and require permit/business license numbers to be displayed on STR listings to easily filter out unlicensed operators and address complaints through online advertising platforms.
Below are some of the highlights of the proposed ordinance.
Two types of STRs are defined:
Short-Term Residential Rental (STRRs) – These are owner-occupied, residential rentals where one or more rooms of a single-family home, the main use of which is residential living, is rented for no more than 30 consecutive days.
Short-Term Commercial Rental (STCRs) – These are non-owner-occupied, residential rentals where one room or the entire dwelling is rented for no more than 30 consecutive days.
- EACH location requires a license.
- The operation of an STR shall not affect any person’s quiet enjoyment of their property. A “quiet time” is required between 8 PM to 7 AM.
- Tents, RVs, etc. cannot be used as an STR.
- The STR operator/host shall provide emergency contact information to guests and the city (with license application).
- The STR operator/host shall collect information on the make, model, and year of the guest vehicles and disclose that information on demand to city representatives.
- No more than two violations may be received annually before the Commission considers revoking the business license.
- A maximum of 2 guests per bedroom, excluding children under 12.
- Existing STRR and STCR hosts must register the location of each rental unit along with proof of prior occupancy as an STR within 90 days from the date of adoption of the ordinance. The host must obtain a business license(s) within 6 months from the date of adoption of this ordinance. If a license is granted, all performance measures apply. Failure to register within 90 days and/or obtain a license within 6 months shall invalidate any claim of prior use of the property as an STR.
Rules applying to STRR operators/hosts:
- STRRs are permitted “BY RIGHT” in the A-C, R-1, R-2, R-3, R-4, R-A and B-1 zoning districts (staff-level approval).
- The property must be used as a residence, be owner-occupied, declared as the owner’s homestead, and operate as a household living unit.
- Utilities shall be in the owner’s name (not an LLC or other form of ownership).
- One additional vehicle is allowed.
- No signage.
- Approved Accessory Dwelling Units may be used in lieu of letting a room in the primary home but not both.
Rules Applying to STCR operators/hosts:
- STCRs are permitted as a SPECIAL EXCEPTION (approved by the Board of Zoning Adjustment) in the A-C, R-1, R-2, R-3, and R-4 zoning districts and BY RIGHT in R-A and B-1 zoning districts.
- STCRs shall not be located within 250 feet of another STCR UNLESS it existed at the time of adoption and is properly registered and licensed.
- Maximum occupancy is capped at 1.5 times the maximum number of guests permitted at the STR (anti-party provision, i.e. a 3-bedroom house could have 6 guests plus 3 others).
- Any advertisement of an STR must reflect occupancy restrictions.
To register an existing STR, provide proof of operation prior to October 4, 2022 (upload on the “applicant” page of the business license application), and complete the application found at https://forms.dothan.org/Forms/str.
For more information, Contact the Planning Department at 334-615-4410, or Business Licensing at 334-615-3166.