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    Short-Term Rental Ruling Against Blowing Rock, NC, Emphasizes 'Free Use of Property'

    The North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled against the town of Blowing Rock in a short-term rental dispute in a decision highlighting the importance of the "free use of property." The court considered whether Chad Frazier's property in the town was "grandfathered" when Blowing Rock adopted new short-term rental caps in 2019. Town officials claimed they had first imposed new restrictions in the 1980s, long before Frazier purchased his property in 2016. All parties concurred that Frazier's property is not located in a short-term rental overlay district Blowing Rock established in 2000, but Frazier and town officials clashed over assertions that the district impeded him from legally running a short-term rental. The court opinion stated that Frazier "maintained he used and intended to use the Property for short-term rentals before, as of, and after the effective date of the new [2019] short-term rental ordinance, and during his ownership, there were no periods of 180 days or more in which he did not use the Property for short-term rentals." A Watauga County Superior Court judge sided with Frazier in March 2021, overturning Blowing Rock's decision against him. According to the Appeals Court ruling, "The superior court concluded as a matter of law that the language of the Town's 1984 Land Use Act prohibiting 'temporary residences renting by the day or week' in residentially zoned areas was vague and ambiguous, and therefore the Town had no enforceable restriction against 'short-term rentals of less than 28 days' until the enactment of the 2019 Amendment."

    Carolina Journal (12/06/22)

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