Council again attempts to tackle tourism in residential areas
By Stephanie Johns
The Madison City Council once again discussed tourism in residential zones. Public input was taken during their meeting Monday night.
This first came up during a November meeting of the council. At that meeting Councilman Michael Naples asked why the city had not stopped a homeowner from providing tours of their historic residence.
Then during a December meeting, Naples noted that the ordinance as it currently stands only covers tour management and that people do not want tourism in residential districts.
At the council’s January meeting, Madison Planning Director Monica Callahan shared the Savannah tour house ordinance as well as language from the Rome, Ga. accessory permit for councilmen to consider.
Public input during the February meeting included comments from Stratton Hicky, David Land, and Kathy Whiteside.
Hicky said one of his major concerns dealt with the requirement that homes have to be owner-occupied to be on tour.
“I’m at a loss as to why it was so pointedly stated in the guidelines,” he said, noting that his family has a home that has been unoccupied for 30 years.
Naples pointed out that tours are an accessory use so a primary use is required.
Land asked about those who own a second home in Madison and requested clarification as to what ‘residential’ includes.
Callahan said that this just applies to single family homes.
Whiteside said that there is a need for this.
“People do want to come to Madison between the big tours,” she said.
Naples said that it is a question of enforcement.
“I certainly don’t want to see us cut off our main thing: tourism,” he said.
City Manager David Nunn said that tours of residences are self-regulated to an extent.
“Very few are not owner-occupied,” he said. “Who wants tours coming through their house all the time? Nobody wants that.”
Callahan summarized the council’s instructions for her.
“We are supportive of our big tours and that ordinance seems okay,” she said, noting that they need to pull that out of the zoning. “I heard there’s a need for small group tours and we should be flexible and creative in how we work that out.”
Printed in the February 14, 2013 edition