Short-term rental workshop draws big crowd

Special to Gannett
More than five dozen attendees participated in the Walton County Planning and Development Departments short-term rental ordinance workshop at the South Walton Courthouse Annex on Tuesday, Oct. 7.

The Walton County Planning and Development Department welcomed a full house to the South Walton Courthouse Annex Oct. 7 for the first of its two public workshops on a proposed short-term vacation rental ordinance.

The purpose of these workshops is to provide input on Walton County’s proposed short-term vacation rental ordinance, as well as address the impacts stemming from short-term rental activity in Walton County, specifically to explore the following:

• The public health, safety, and welfare impacts of short-term rental of single-family

residences on residential areas.

• The short-term rental related impacts on public safety and public infrastructure in south

Walton County.

• The costs and benefits of implementation of a county registration/regulatory process for single family residential based short-term rentals.

For his part, Walton County Commissioner Danny Glidewell, who represents District 2, told the crowd of more than five dozen attendees that the county wants to take a thoughtful, but thorough approach to any ordinance it may enact.

“This is not a process that we’re intending to rush,” he said. “This is to ensure safety and quality of life for citizens who live here. We want to draft something that protects everyone to the best of our ability.”

As for the meeting itself, representatives from the Walton County Planning and Development Department were on hand to offer insight on the proposed ordinance, answer questions from those in attendance, and provide an overview of the process and next steps.

From questions about the ordinance timeline and how the county plans to enforce any new initiatives to suggestions on how to help regulate parking and ways to address concerns about occupancy and noise, attendees, which represented private citizens, property owners (both local and out of state) and local rental management agencies, offered up plenty of thoughts and suggestions for the county to consider. The input and suggestions were welcomed.

“We’re all here to make Walton County the best place it can be,” said Planning Manager Kristen Shell.