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City council votes for 90-day moratorium on new short-term rental applications

Bardstown Mayor Dick Heaton, right, talks with City Attorney Audrey Haydon prior to the start of Tuesday’s city council meeting.

By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021 — The Bardstown City Council voted in favor of a resolution and an ordinance that creates a three-month moratorium on new applications for short-term rentals within the city limits.

The move came at the request of Jan Johnston-Crowe, director of the joint city-county planning and zoning office.

Johnston-Crowe said the Bardstown Board of Adjustments is faced with trying to prevent a saturation of short-term rentals that could be harmful to the residential character of the city’s neigborhoods.

The existing ordinance was written in 2017, not long after the city began seeing an increase in short-term rentals in the city.

For properties not zoned commercial, property owners must get to the Bardstown Board of Adjustments for a conditional use permit in order to use their property as a short-term rental.

The problem is that the existing ordinance is vague, she explained. While the board has the power to limit the number of short-term rentals in a neighborhood, the ordinance offers no real specifics as to how many short-term rentals is is too many in a given geographical area.

City Councilman Joe Buckman gestures while talking with Councilwoman Betty Hart at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

There are currently 70 short-term rentals in the county, and the planning and zoning office receives a steady stream of new applications on a regular basis, she explained.

The council approved a resolution in support of the three-month moratorium 5-0, with Councilman David Dones recusing because he owns a short-term rental property. The council went on to approve first reading of an ordinance to establish the three-month pause on new short-term rentals.

The second reading on the moratorium ordinance will take place at noon on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, via Zoom.

SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY. The council approved a proclamation by Mayor Dick Heaton noting that Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, is Small Business Saturday.

The event in downtown Bardstown follows Friday’s “Light Up Bardstown” festivities to encourage people to shop their local small businesses when looking for Christmas and holiday gift ideas.

Bardstown Main Street has a whole slate of fun events planned for Saturday. Check their social media page for details.

Heaton noted that starting Friday, an ice skating rink will be placed under the Bardstown Farmer’s Market pavilion, and skating times are available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for $5 per 30 minutes, including skate rental. Check the Bardstown Main Street Facebook page for the link to reserve a 30-minute time slot.

TAKIGAWA TAX INCENTIVE. The council approved a resolution that will rebate a credit of 1/2 of 1 percent of the occupational taxes paid by the employees of Takigawa for a period of 10 years.

The incentive is available once the company meets a specific number of new jobs created at the facility.

NEXT UP. The council will hold a short special-called meeting at noon on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, to approve second reading of the ordinance establishing a three-month moratorium on accepting applications for rnew short-term rentals in the City of Bardstown. The next regular council meeting is 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021.

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