Man cited, fined for renting
By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
Sugar Creek resident Doug Nelms was fined $500 in March by the Morgan County magistrate judge, for failing to observe local zoning ordinances that prohibit short-term rental of homes.
Nelms got himself cross-wise with neighbors and the county when it was discovered that he had been renting his waterfront home out on a weekend basis last year. Neighbors complained of trespassers, noise, and cars at the house, and when county officials determined that guests were indeed renting the house for days at a time—as opposed to months—Nelms was taken to civil court.
Magistrate Judge Connie Holt ultimately withheld a decision on whether to fine Nelms earlier this year, pending discussions and a decision from the Morgan County Board of Commissioners as to whether Nelms could qualify for a license to operate as a bed-and-breakfast in the county. The planning commission recommended denial of that application, and Nelms ultimately withdrew his request for a bed-and-breakfast license.
The county did offer to drop all charges in return from an agreement by Nelms to never rent his house out again, but Nelms declined that offer, said county senior planner Allison Moon. Under current ordinances, Nelms may continue to rent out his home, but only in increments of 30 days or more. If he is found to be in violation of local ordinances, he could be fined by the day for future offenses.