Streetsboro temporarily bans Airbnbs and other short-term rentals in new zoning laws

Jeremy Brown/The Portager

Streetsboro’s Jan. 22 revamp of its zoning code includes a ban on personal vacation rentals like Airbnbs, at least for now.

That’s thanks to city council’s recent approval of a tweak to local zoning regulations. The part of the city’s zoning code that was drafted in the 1990s addresses bed and breakfasts and tourist homes in various zoning districts, but it did not make appropriate provisions for vacation rentals of personal residences, city officials said.

Airbnbs, Vrbos and other peer-to-peer vacation rentals are a decidedly modern concept the city’s zoning code neither imagined nor addressed, said Streetsboro Planning Director John H. Cieszkowski Jr.

“This was a step for us to clean up the existing text with the understanding that we are working on comprehensive Airbnb-related regulations to address the modern-day Airbnb as everybody knows it,” he said.

It is unknown how long approving updated regulations will take or what they may include, Cieszkowski said.

People who are currently operating Airbnbs, Vrbos or the like have been sent a notice that they are in violation of zoning codes and must stop operating until they obtain a conditional use permit under the regulations the city is removing. They may also wait until new regulations are drafted and comply with them.

Cieszkowski said he knows of only a few such peer-to-peer vacation rentals in Streetsboro.

Acting on a hired consultant’s conclusion that Streetsboro has enough car washes, hotels and motels, the city’s zoning update also effectively bans new builds of those facilities.

The city has four car washes, soon to be five, and 10 places where people might find a bed, whether they be hotels or motels. Streetsboro Mayor Glenn Broska characterizes the zoning tweak as a way to protect longtime businesses in the city, while preventing price wars that can hurt their bottom line.

Streetsboro’s zoning revisions also limit the number of marijuana dispensaries in the city to two. The facilities may only be located in a specific business district along portions of the city’s Route 14 corridor. Streetsboro currently does not have any marijuana dispensaries, medical or recreational.

Council first considered limiting recreational marijuana facilities in December, a month after Ohio voters opted to legalize recreational marijuana.

Council also authorized:

  • Multi-factor authentication hardware and software for city police, requiring them to not only type in their passwords but also to have a separate I.D. code prior to logging into the statewide Law Enforcement Agencies Data System (LEADS), a statewide computerized telecommunications system designed to provide services and information to police.
  • Exterior video surveillance cameras for the city service department, which doesn’t have any now. In the past few months, city Service Director Bill Miller has apprised council members of incidents at the service complex on Route 303 and has said cameras could have helped identify those responsible. The cameras will be placed at each of the main service building doors and at the back service garage. Another one will be aimed at the city’s gas pumps.
  • Bids for construction of Floyd North Bicentennial Park, which will be sited on Aurora Hudson Road. Plans include a pond, a dock, a pavilion, restrooms and a parking lot. The pond may be stocked with fish for fishing derbies, Parks and Recreation Director Greg Mytinger said.
  • Receipt of $12,000 to benefit Streetsboro’s senior center. The county recently received a $451,875 Healthy Aging Grant from the state and is funneling some of it to local senior centers that apply for a share. The funds will enable center staff to help Streetsboro’s elderly community with technology and to provide more programming options.
  • Cieszkowski to apply for a $40,000 state grant to study building a hike and bike trail that would connect Trail Lake Park to Seneca Ponds Park.
  • Cieszkowski to apply for a $40,000 grant to study “city square bypass connectivity.” If approved, the city proposes to someday build a hike and bike trail connecting Thomas Heritage Park to a point on Seasons Road between Ferguson and Clark roads and a new street that would connect Route 14 and Wiencek Road.

If awarded, the grants and the studies that flow from them will determine the possible routes and locations of all the connections, Cieszkowski said.

Both grants are funded through the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study, a planning agency that studies and plans efficient transportation systems in the greater Akron area.

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.