Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 23, 2017

Council to amend rental ordinance

By NICOLE HESTER-WILLIAMS Ledger staff writer | Nov 30, 2016

The Fairfield City Council heard the second reading Monday of an ordinance intended to repeal and replace the current Lodging House Ordinance, better known as the short-term rental ordinance.

During an interview today, Fairfield City Administrator Michael Harmon said after hearing the second reading and discussing it, the council decided to amend the ordinance before the last reading.

“There are some proposed changes that the council would like to see before the third and final reading, which will likely take place Dec. 5,” Harmon said, adding that changes would be made in the language pertaining to meal preparation and the length of stays for rooming and boarding houses.

Harmon said short-term rentals would not be permitted to offer prepared meals for sales in the way that bed and breakfasts do.

“If there are cooking facilities available in a short-term rental, the occupants would prepare their own meals, not the owner providing that for them,” Harmon said.

Additionally, Harmon said the current proposed ordinance had conflicting language when it came to rooming and boarding houses that limited the time frame of a stay to 28 days.

Harmon said rooming and boarding houses would be able to offer longer stays, providing council accepts the ordinance during its final reading.

In other news, council members approved the next step in the process of borrowing a near $25 million loan from the United States Department of Agriculture   aimed at rehabilitating the city’s wastewater treatment facility.

“We are sort of in the final stages of putting together the necessary financial and legal steps,” Harmon said, adding that the council took action a month ago authorizing Piper Jaffray to seek out financing.

Harmon said the loan would only be interim financing; similar to what one goes through when garnering a construction loan to build a house. Once the home is built, the house is refinanced with a permanent bank as the city would with the USDA.

“We hope to have the terms to council by Dec. 5 and be able to approve financing,” Harmon said. “We hope the USDA will authorize us to advertise for bids by Dec. 15. I don’t see anything standing in the way of that, as this point.”

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