LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Old Louisville neighbors met Thursday night to discuss a new bed & breakfast that hopes to open on S. Third Street in the spring of 2017.
Neighbors say they are happy the soon-to-be Fleur de Lis B&B, at 1470 S. 3rd, is a traditional B&B that will join many others operating in Old Louisville.
Fleur de Lis owner Sharon Dills wants to make sure people understand the distinction about her gorgeous 1897 Victorian home.
"We are a traditional bed & breakfast, that's what we're applying for," Dills said.
Traditional, not in its birdseye maple pocket doors and soaring wood staircase, traditional meaning, you welcome and entertain guests, just as a hotel does. Traditional B&Bs, unlike Airbnb and other rentals, require a rigorous conditional-use permit process, everything from submitting architectural drawings to public notices, like the public meeting the Dills are holding for their neighbors. Dills says she wants to answer any questions they may have.
"They may be worried about what we are going to do, or how we're going to do it," she said.
Neighbors told us, they appreciate the time, money and effort the family has put into the historic building.
Councilman David James who represents the Metro's District 6 says in Old Louisville - where you find the city's largest concentration of bed & breakfasts - some of those traditional B&Bs were concerned Airbnb rentals would bring unfair competition when it comes to permits.
Short-term rentals like Airbnb don't have to go through such a full process, however. In Old Louisville, unlike the rest of the city, the property owner does have to go through a modified CUP process.
"There was concern among the residents in Old Louisville that they didn't want entire blocks made up of Airbnbs because it changes the context of the community," James explained.
James says neighbors were afraid people would start buying homes in Old Louisville just to rent them out year-round.
"We had a few houses bought in Old Louisville, simply for the purpose of an Airbnb," he said.
In most areas of Louisville those operating rentals pay a $25 fee to start your Airbnb or similar rental service.
"You don't want to purchase a home thinking you're in a neighborhood of homeowners and all the sudden you're in a neighborhood of transients, it changes the whole collection of your neighborhood," James said.
So is Old Louisville a testing ground as far as Airbnb's are concerned?
"Absolutely," James said.
He says there are great property owners acting as Airbnb renters, saying they are also helping show off the city to visitors, and it's possible the rules could be lessened in Old Louisville for them in about a year. He says leaders are learning as they go and they just want to keep an eye on it for now.