The debate over short-term rentals continued Wednesday.

Those in opposition said it raises concerns about safety in their neighborhoods, but supporters said-short term rentals could attract more investment in the city.

This debate has gone on for several years now, and a public hearing on March 1 provided an opportunity for public input before the council votes on this later in the month.

One city resident, Larry Dunlap said while he supports the short-term rental ordinance, he wants to make sure regulations are in place.

Dunlap said he witnessed a homicide at a short-term rental in his neighborhood in January of 2022.

“You feel apprehensive. You feel concerned, and not everybody that’s going to be staying there is going to be a problem, but you can’t get that out of your mind. We were sitting literally in our living room and heard those gunshots and watched everything out our windows,” said Larry Dunlap, a short-term rental owner.

Dunlap said operators of short-term rentals need to pay attention.

“When you think about it you have people staying in that house, and you’re responsible for that house, so you really should keep an eye on things, and I don’t think that they were doing that on my street,” Dunlap continued.

One short-term rental operator said over the years, she’s never experienced any problems with her Airbnb.   

“We have had no negatives. We have had great experiences at the Airbnb that we have, and again, it’s just a positive thing. If it’s run correctly and regulations are in place, it’s just positive,” said Kathie Whipple, a short-term rental operator.

City council president said they’ve made improvements to the short-term ordinance in the last few years.

“Zoning and planning worked on this ordinance. City council has heard this hearing a number of times, and we’ve heard from the public a number of times. The amount of time that was put into this gave the HOAs a chance to regulate themselves on this, and it gave us a chance to make some small changes to help our community really just have safe and well-regulated investment in our community,” said Chuck Nelson, president of Erie City Council.

City council will vote on this short-term rental ordinance on March 15.