COVENTRY TWP.  The Coventry Township Board of Trustees has approved a zoning text amendment, which it hopes will help address some of the concerns raised during the past year about short term rentals also known as Airbnb’s.

Coventry Zoning Inspector Bill Meyerhoff said the zoning text amendment has been a work in progress for a while. He said the amendment is a collaboration of the Zoning Commission and the trustees, along with Summit County Planning Department reviewing the amendment.

Short term rentals are a topic Meyerhoff said he began working on immediately when he began as zoning inspector in August. Creating the text amendment took time because it entitled creating an entirely new section of the zoning code for the township.

"Historically, there has been a lot of rentals short, medium and long term in the township," Meyerhoff said.

He said the issue of Airbnb’s, though, is relatively new as digital house sharing platforms have become more popular on the internet.

The zoning text change requires anyone with a short term rental, which is defined as fewer than 30 days, to obtain a conditional use permit through the township’s Zoning Office. Owners of the short term retail must first request a hearing before the Board of Zoning Appeals, which there is a $250 fee. Applicants requesting the hearing must submit plans, which will be reviewed to make sure the property is in compliance with the requirements set forward in the text amendment.

Those applying for a permit must provide information about the number of parking spaces, number of bedrooms, the maximum number of guests, if the septic or sewer is in compliance, along with contact information including a 24-hour contact phone number for the owner or caretaker of the property. The property owner or caretaker must be located within a 75-mile radius of the property.

If the Board of Zoning Appeals gives a favorable recommendation, then a permit will be issued through the township’s Zoning Office.

Meyerhoff said he believes to his knowledge Coventry is the first township in the state to issue permits for short term rentals.

Standards

Parking for guests for short term rentals must be on the property in either a garage, carport, a paved or gravel driveway or a paved or gravel parking pad. No on-street parking shall be permitted.

Trash and recycle must be in stored in appropriate containers with tight-fitting lids and picked up by a licensed waste hauler.

Special events are not permitted at short term rental properties.

The maximum number of renters shall be equal to the number of bedrooms multiplied by two.

The permit number issued by the township must be included with any advertisement of the rental and posted on a location visible from the street or road serving the property.

Pets must be secured on the premises or on a leash at all times.

Short term rental owners are also asked to register with the Summit County Rental Registration, which is no cost to do so.

Enforcement

Meyerhoff said he believes the Zoning Commission did an outstanding job setting forward the standards. He is hopeful property owners will comply with the text amendment as he said the township has a good record of compliance of the zoning code.

Rentals are expected to comply with the Summit County Noise Ordinance and if neighbors have concerns about noise or parking concerns, they are encouraged to contact the Summit County Sheriff's Office.

Short term rental violations will be treated just like any other zoning violation and citations would be issued, Meyerhoff said.

While the amendment has been approved by the trustees, he said it is not set in stone and changes can be made in the future.