MILTON — The City Council and city staff on Monday decided to amend a zoning ordinance to make boarding houses permitted by special exception in all residential areas.

At an Aug. 17 Committee of the Whole meeting, Cheryl Kursave approached the council concerned about the notice of violation she received from the code ordinance department about renting rooms in her four-bedroom home on Robin Avenue.

According to Kursave, renting is her only form of income and the code enforcement department instructed her that she was to evict her roommates by Sept. 15 due to a code violation. Mayor Wesley Meiss extended the deadline to Nov. 15 so the council and staff could discuss the issue; Milton Planning Director Randy Jorgenson recommended the staff amend the ordinance all together.

At the Sept. 26 City Council meeting, Meiss extended the deadline again until Feb. 15, 2018, and the city staff has explored options regarding amending the ordinance.

According to city staff, there are five options: do nothing and leave the ordinance the same, requiring Kursave to evict her roommates; permit by-right boarding houses in the R1-A zoning district; permit by-right boarding houses in all residential districts; rezone Kursave’s property R3 where the use of boarding houses is permitted; or permit boarding houses as a special exemption in residential districts either in part or in whole. The staff during Monday's Executive Committee meeting recommended the fifth option.

Councilman Casey Powell suggested allowing boarding houses in all residential districts because of situations like AirBNB, where travelers rent out rooms in people's homes. If the ordinance is not changed, this common practice wouldn’t be allowed.

To make this amendment, staff must draft an ordinance and the Board of Adjustments must review the change. The city is required to hold a public hearing on the ordinance amendment and give a minimum 15-day notice to residents. The BOA will decide to grant the special exemption as long as it does not adversely affect the public interest.

Meiss said he wants to make sure the city is transparent with the process since the amendment will affect all residential zoning districts, not just the district in which Kursave lives. According to City Manager Brian Watkins, the notification will be added to the city’s website and social media.

If the BOA accepts the ordinance amendment after the public hearing, the city will hold a first reading at the subsequent council meeting.

Powell made a motion to allow the city to put an advertisement in the local newspaper notifying the residents of Milton of the public hearing. The motion passed with all council members in favor.