Tapping into the REALTOR® Party’s Advocacy Everywhere program, the Mid Carolina Regional Association of REALTORS® encouraged its members and residents of Pinehurst, NC to oppose proposed short-term rental regulations that would have impaired the popular destination’s thriving tourist industry and weakened private property rights.
The Village of Pinehurst, North Carolina is not only a legendary golf destination; the region’s natural beauty draws admirers to such an extent that tourism is the main source of revenue for the village and surrounding Moore County communities. So, when the Pinehurst Village Council attempted to severely regulate the thriving vacation rental industry earlier this year, the Mid-Carolina Region Association of REALTORS® (MCRAR) acted decisively. Launching a Call For Action through the REALTOR® Party’s Advocacy Everywhere program, they sent a clear message from the community that resulted in a re-thinking of the proposed restrictions, saving several hundred short-term rentals from closure and staving off a ban on new vacation rental properties, as well as safe-guarding an important revenue stream for the village.
The REALTORS® opposed the proposed regulations on three grounds: the negative impact they would have on tourism; the unjust limitation of private property rights; and the fact that many of the reasons posed for regulating short-term rentals – such as noise and trash can issues – were already addressed by existing village ordinances.
Jake Sutherland, the 2022 MCRAR President, declares, “I am proud to say the members of MCRAR stood up and protected the rights of all the 17,000+ residents of Pinehurst, a heavily marketed resort community. It all boils down to private property rights,” he explains; “as a community and a REALTOR® association, we grew an alliance to defend them. Whether residents support vacation rentals or not, they all have property rights, which include the right to rent as well as the right to quiet enjoyment of their property. We were not advocating solely for vacation rentals; we were lobbying to retain property rights for all residents who would have been impacted by such a regulation.”
To leverage its lobbying power, MCRAR turned to the REALTOR® Party’s Advocacy Everywhere program. The resulting Call For Action was both member- and consumer-facing, encouraging residents of Pinehurst to contact the mayor and members of the Village Council voicing support for short-term rentals in their resort community. Over the course of two days, a whopping 18% of recipients responded. As Sutherland reports, although an all-out ban on vacation rentals was discussed and debated, what was eventually passed was much less extreme, allowing existing short-term rentals to remain with a conditional use permit, and requiring development permits for new STRs. “In acting as a liaison to local government by sending the mayor and the Village Council countless emails and verifiable data, the REALTOR® Party was instrumental in the outcome,” he says. “Our members’ voices and concerns were heard through our Call For Action.”
“There were lots of sighs released,” adds William Bradford, Government Affairs Director of the Mid Carolina Regional Association of REALTORS®. “Tourism is a very big driver of the local economy, and many of our members in Pinehurst have skin in the game as property managers. Beyond the fundamental issue of property rights, they were relieved that their businesses would not be negatively impacted.” He credits the defeat of the proposed legislation to the energetic advocacy of local REALTORS® who attended meetings and reached out to their elected officials, as well as the Call For Action: “The system worked wonderfully and was a great tool for spreading the word about the issue.”
To learn more about how the Mid Carolina Regional Association of REALTORS® is defending private property rights in Pinehurst and beyond, contact Government Affairs Director William Bradford at firstname.lastname@example.org.