The Carmel City Council suspended the rules and passed an amended ordinance that will allow short-term rentals like Airbnb to operate in Carmel as long as certain requirements are met.
Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said he wanted to see quick action in case the state legislature attempts to pass a law to prohibit bans on Airbnb-type rentals in municipalities.
“Knowing it can be changed, I’d like to see this issue dealt with quickly so I can use it when I speak to state representatives,” Brainard said.
The amended ordinance creates an exemption that would allow homeowners looking to list a rental on Airbnb to pay a $100 application fee and undergo a review from a Board of Zoning Appeals hearing officer.
Exemptions would only apply to permanent residents of a home to prevent someone from buying a house for it to be solely used as a short-term rental.
The mayor would have authority to suspend provisions for up to 30 days a year for big events when hotels are full, such as the Indianapolis 500, NCAA Final Four, PGA golf tournaments or major conventions.
The exemption would only last one year at a time. The hearing officer can decide to limit the amount of days to a certain number of days a year.
Some residents said they are concerned about having an Airbnb rental next to their homes.
Carmel resident Stephanie McBroom spoke about her positive experience with Airbnb.
“I have stayed in about 20 Airbnbs myself,” she said. “I find it to be a positive experience, and I treat them like a friend’s home. I understand that we don’t want Airbnbs everywhere, but I have found it to be a positive experience and there can be a positive way that it can be offered.”
Brainard said he agrees with McBroom and that he has enjoyed staying in Airbnbs himself, but he said there needs to be a “safety valve” in case something goes wrong. He said he expects many applications could be approved.
“We’ve allowed the use, subject to some due process from the neighbors,” he said. “They want to take away the due process.”