Decatur Mayor admits to violating city short-term rental ordinance

Decatur Mayor admits to violating city short-term rental ordinance
Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 7:24 AM CST
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - Decatur’s mayor is facing backlash after he was caught violating the city’s ban on short-term rentals.

WAFF’s newspaper partner, the Decatur Daily, discovered that Mayor Tab Bowling had been running a short-term rental and had listed it on Airbnb and Vrbo.

Reviews on the listing show that it had been rented out starting in August or September. This was also around the same time the city council began the discussion about relaxing the ban on short-term rentals in the city.

When the Decatur Daily asked Mayor Bowling about his Airbnb, he owned up to it and said he will have to deal with the backlash.

“Obviously, this will end up being embarrassing,” Bowling said. “I may need to stop until this ordinance is resolved. This is probably not going to be met with a lot of favor. I’ll just have to man up and deal with it.”

City Councilman Jacob Ladner told WAFF 48 that he believes Bowling’s actions to be unethical.

“Leaders within the city, we’re all called to a higher standard, and we need to model the way for our citizens for obeying laws in the books,” he said.

Ladner told WAFF 48′s Matthew King that the city council has already begun potentially changing municipal codes to allow short-term rentals. He said it could happen as soon as early 2023.

“It’s more about a outdated zoning ordinance,” he said. “Short-term rentals are fairly new on the scene, especially here in Decatur. I think people have used them when they visit the beach or other things for a long time, but it was just not addressed.”

Click here to read more about the story in the Decatur Daily.