AUGUSTA, Ga. - Augustans opening up their homes for short-term guests during the Masters Tournament is nothing new. But, what about the other weeks out of the year? It's an issue that's come up after some houses have had incidents of unruly parties resulting in noise complaints and even death. 

Members of the Augusta Commission met Monday for a second and final work session on developing an ordinance. Those in attendance went with planning and development's recommendation to hold off on the ordinance and to continue monitoring short-term rentals.

But, some commissioners don't think the city should take a back seat on this issue.

Commissioner Catherine Smith Mcknight says the city needs to do more than just monitor short-term rentals.

"I got a call from a resident about a mile up the street from me that said that they are tired of hearing loud music and they can't get anything done," Smith Mcknight says. "That needs to be put in writing, what we are to do."

In addition to noise complaints and trash issues the rentals generate, some say they are becoming revenue generators that overtake the neighborhoods. Bringing into question what regulations the city may need to impose on this type of operation.

After hearing from the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, Richmond County Marshall's Office, and other departments, the consensus is they don't receive enough calls to take action on short-term rentals.

"Right now, it's not really an issue," Commissioner Stacy Pulliam said following Monday's meeting. "...You may hear from one or two people that are complaining, and their complaints are very valid, and they should express those said complaints. But, as I was telling someone earlier, in the area I'm visiting, I'm visiting people where their neighbors are noisy and they own the property."    

Pulliam doesn't want to limit the rights of property owners if it isn't necessary. "In a lot of instances, this is a means to extra income so that I can pay might light bill or utilities that need to be paid," she says. "So, for that, I don't see a need to take that away from an individual."

Most complaints stem from tournament week, graduation, and even Iron Man. But, there are complaints in certain neighborhoods outside of those events.

As of Monday, 676 short-term rental properties were available in Richmond County. 

Although no action was taken, Smith Mcknight believes the city needs something in writing that would ensure a proactive approach instead of a reactive one. "It's going to grow, we're going to get more and more Airbnb, Vrbo's, and we just need to make sure that we have something that is followed policy," she says.

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