Orange Beach, Alabama is a very small town, with a population less than 6,000 people. Regardless, this town is actually a very popular vacation spot. With a very little known beach that stretches 32 miles along the north gulf coast, it attracts millions of visitors every year. In fact, an estimated 5.5 million travelers come to stay in Orange Beach every year. The tourism in Orange Beach actually generates almost 50,000 travel-related jobs for the area and brings in $22.2 million in lodging tax revenue.
Orange Beach’s economy is driven by revenues from vacation rentals. However, many local residents of this Alabama tourist town do not want any more licenses given out for new vacation rental properties. On Thursday, January 4, a meeting was held at the city council. A bill was proposed at this meeting to ban all new licenses for vacation rentals.
The Institute of Education at Plymouth University said that 95% of parents think that their children are happier on vacation when there are kid-friendly activities available. Unfortunately, this will not be the case for Orange Beach. The ban is a result of complaints about a small number of vacationers that have visited the town. Local town residents spoke up at the city council meeting to air their grievances.
One resident stated that he lived next to a short-term vacation rental property and it “was a nightmare.” The resident stated that it is important to know who your neighbors are, and that’s not possible with short-term vacation rentals.
A councilman also spoke about his personal experience having vacation rentals in his neighborhood. He claimed that travelers renting out vacation homes are “stealing from the neighbors.”
No alternatives to the ban have been considered yet. Will the bill be passed and take the side of the angry residents of Orange Beach, Alabama? Or will the town decide that the revenue and job potential from vacation renters is more important to the town than a few complaints?
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