Crackdown on Melville Airbnb

THE future of Airbnb in Melville is up in the air with the local council considering a crackdown through a new policy. 

The council will be discussing plans for a new Local Planning Policy for short-term accommodation at its May meeting, with one of the suggestions a requirement for hotel wannabes to register their operation.  

There is currently little legislation surrounding short term accommodation and Melville councillor Katy Mair says they have “disrupted” the community.

The council has fielded a number of complaints due to “the constant change of people, parking issues, noise and in some instances loud parties”.

This had been exacerbated in areas of high-rise development, with apartments being advertised as Airbnb without complying with regulations. 

Cr Mair said homes used as short stay accommodation “require higher standards in relation to fire safety”. 

In a report to council, urban planning manager Gavin Ponton said short term accommodation required “land use which is different to standard residence, and guidelines to minimise impacts”.

The LPP aims to determine appropriate locations and management for Airbnbs, favouring mixed used zones with shopping centres, offices and public transport.

Short term accommodation will be permissible in residential areas but homes closer to shops, civic facilities and public transport would be favoured.

The draft of the LPP was advertised and 12 submissions were received with six opposed, three in support and three noting support with some concerns. 

Those opposed didn’t want commercial uses in residential areas and raised concerns around policing, parking and noise.

Others argued Airbnbs provide flexibility for visiting family and travellers, and that the LPP was too restrictive. 

Noel Anderson has been using his backyard bungalow as an Airbnb for a number of years and says he has never had any issues or complaints from neighbours. 

Mr Anderson believes the council is simply seeking out ways to make money and should target corporations instead of Airbnb owners like him who aren’t making large profits. 

Mr Anderson says the policy is unlikely to affect his backyard operation as he is close to shops and a bus stop.

by JENNA McCLURE

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