Our View: How it should work
Last week's compromise on the issue of short-term rentals in Ashland residences won't please everyone, but that's the nature of compromise. What's notable is that it was an example of how local government ought to operate.
In his Council Corner column on Tuesday, Mayor John Stromberg called the written and spoken testimony on the issue "phenomenal," and he praised Ashland residents as "extraordinarily articulate about subjects that are important to them."
The testimony clearly had an impact on the council members. The meeting began with a draft ordinance that would have allowed homeowners in single-family residential zones to rent rooms to tourists under certain restrictions. During the public hearing, a majority of the 22 speakers opposed allowing rentals in single-family zones.
The council voted to grant preliminary approval to expand what are known as Auxiliary Travelers Accommodations in multi-family and commercial zones but continue to forbid them in single-family zones. ATAs involve renting one or two rooms to up to four people with no kitchen facilities or meals. Travelers Accommodations — the rental of an entire house — are restricted to within 200 feet of an arterial in commercial and multi-family zones, and that would not change under the amended ordinance.
The council will consider the ordinance again during its April 7 meeting.
Our point here is not to take sides on the outcome, but to note that the process worked as it should: people spoke, councilors heard them and changed course accordingly. And that's a good thing.