The city Planning Commission went into executive session before deciding not to recommend Scott and Trinity Walker for a short-term rental permit.
Scott Walker told the Planning Commission he has been patient with the city for 15 months while he has applied for a bed and breakfast permit and now one for short-term rental, something others have gotten in weeks.
Joe Cloyd and Robert Sema, neighbors of his on East Beach Drive where the house in question is, told the commission they were the ones who have been patient, because the Walkers have been renting out the house short-term all along without a permit.
The vote was four to one to deny the Walkers’ application. Scott Walker said he will appeal to the Board of Aldermen and then to Jackson County court if necessary. He was working on his appeal request on Wednesday morning.
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Trinity Walker said she is very disappointed with the commission because, she claimed, there are “hundreds of houses in Ocean Springs” on internet rental sites, renting without a permit.
She said if city officials are going to regulate short-term rentals, they need to do the research and regulate all of them.
Ocean Springs has issued 26 permits for short-term rentals and has a maximum of 35 set by the Board of Aldermen.
During the hearing Tuesday night, the issue of whether or not the Walkers were breaking city ordinance by renting out their main house short-term over the last year came up.
They have a hearing in city court June 28 on whether they actually did rent out the main house for a weekend in April.
Neighbor approval is not required for a short-term rental permit, which differs from a bed and breakfast permit in other ways. It does not require owners to live on-site.
The Walkers were denied a bed and breakfast permit because of the failure to install a sprinkler system and are appealing in Jackson County Circuit Court.
Before the commission voted Tuesday night, Commissioner Teno Henderson said to Scott Walker, “I think Ocean Springs has been more tolerant with you than any of the other 28 (short term rental requests). You’ve been operating flagrantly against the law, and that’s wrong.
“There’s an ordinance. You didn’t get a permit. And I think Ocean Springs is negligent in not taking you to court.”
After the vote, Scott Walker said, as he left City Hall, “It ain’t over baby.”