MILTON — The City Council has decided not to amend a city ordinance, therefore, not allowing boarding houses under special exception within residential zoning districts.

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At an August Committee of the Whole meeting, Cheryl Kursave approached the board with concerns about a code violation notice she received for renting rooms in her home. Kursave has owned her four-bedroom home on Robin Avenue since 1992.

According to Kursave, renting the three spare rooms in her home is her only form of income, as she has not been able to work since her son died. However, this practice violates Milton’s Article 7, Sec. 7.1-7.3 which states that a dwelling used for providing lodging for a fee to anyone other than family is considered a "boarding house."

The council granted Kursave extensions on her deadline to cease activity from the original Sept 15 date until Feb. 15. In the meantime, city staff compiled information for the council to review to make a decision.

At the Thursday Committee of the Whole meeting, the council discussed the item once again. Although Councilman Casey Powell said he was originally on the fence, he said the feedback he has heard from constituents has been negative, so he no longer feels amending the ordinance is in the best interest of the city.

Councilman Jeff Snow agreed with Powell, as did Councilman Alan Lowery, who said he bought his home — across the street from Kursave — to be in “an individual neighborhood, not a hotel.”

Powell made the motion to reject amending the ordinance and the current ordinance should be followed. Lowery seconded the motion, and the discussion began.

City Planning Director Randy Jorgenson said the legal definition of a boarding house is renting rooms to individuals without a lease, providing utilities, and each person is not responsible for the others’ rent if someone doesn’t pay.

According to Jorgenson, various communities in the region follow the same rules as Milton currently has in place. He said Kursave is technically operating a commercial enterprise; therefore, she would need a business license.

At previous meetings, discussion about the legality of Airbnb’s was questioned; however, Jorgenson said Airbnb’s are different because they are short-term and both parties are contractually bound.

A concern by some council members was the possibility of the boarding house causing a nuisance to the area. At a previous meeting, Police Chief Tony Tindell provided a list of times first responders were called to Kursave’s address. On Thursday, Tindell confirmed a recent incident where one of her tenants was reportedly intoxicated and threatening suicide.


“I keep getting labeled for what is not going on in my home,” Kursave said. “My dog (has lain waste) in his (Lowery) yard; that’s what started this … witch hunt.”

Kursave then accused the Milton Police Department of “planting” individuals to break into her house and hold her hostage, referencing an incident that allegedly happened some months ago. Tindell denied the accusation and asked Kursave to come to him with complaints involving his department.

The council decided to vote on the original motion, and the motion passed with all present council members in favor. Councilwomen Sharon Holley and Mary Ellen Johnson were absent from the meeting.

City Manager Brian Watkins said the council needs to “go through the motions,” by moving the item to the Nov. 6 Executive Committee meeting and the City Council meeting following to make a final vote and close the item.