Scott Walker’s neighbors have again accused him of running a bed and breakfast out of his home on East Beach without a permit.
The city has issued a subpoena, and he’s due in court on June 28 to answer the accusations.
Carolyn Martin, city planning director, said complaints came in to the department that Walker and his wife were running the business out of their home, and planners forwarded the complaints to city court.
Usually when a “use violation” like that occurs, the city sends a letter telling the homeowner to stop, Martin said.
But this isn’t the first time for Walker. The city issued a similar demand last year. What happened then was “once all parties understood” the Walkers were not to rent their house out for less than 30 days without a permit, the matter did not go to court, Martin said.
In the meantime, Walker is on the Planning Commission agenda tonight at 6 p.m. asking for a permit to turn his house into a short-term rental instead.
The rules and requirements are somewhat different. For example, with a bed and breakfast, he must live on the property, which is not a requirement for renting out a house short-term. Walker applied for both at about the same time last year.
Walker was denied a bed and breakfast permit under an old city law and he doesn’t want to reapply as a bed and breakfast under the new law (enacted earlier this year), partly because the new law requires either approval or no comment from 60 percent of his neighbors.
Neighbor approval isn’t required for a short-term rental permit.
So tonight, if Walker gets his permit for a short-term rental in place of the B&B, he said he will be happy. He has appealed to Jackson County Circuit Court the city’s decision to deny him a B&B, and he said he will drop that appeal and “all possible lawsuits” if he gets the short-term rental permit.
So what about the June 28 court date?
Walker said that issue is about his house being rented in mid-April. He has it listed on websites, and he’s being accused of renting it out for a weekend.
Walker said his attorney, Billy Guice, “will show the court it was rented for more than 30 days. That should get us dismissed.”
Renting any home in the city is allowed as long as it’s for 30 days or more at a time.
Walker is more concerned with tonight’s Planning Commission meeting.
“Trinity (Walker) and I are hopeful that we receive our short-term rental permit that we’ve been waiting 15 months for and we are legally entitled to receive,” he wrote in a text. “We meet all the criteria and have passed our inspection by the City of Ocean Springs.”
He said the permit would allow them to rent the main house to as many as eight adults at a time and accommodate six vehicles on the property.
Walker said he and his family live in the guest house.