Editorial: Short-term rental regulation is a local issue | Editorials
One size just doesn’t fit everyone.
However, this is what some Michigan lawmakers seem to believe when we talk about the meteoric surge in short-term home rentals in recent years made popular by online brokers like Airbnb and VRBO.
These lawmakers, including State Representative John Roth, R-Traverse City, and State Senator Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, signed a pair of laws that snaked through the legislature in Lansing that provided some or local regulation of rental housing for Prohibit short stays.
You and others argue that tight regulations by some local governments violate homeowners’ rights. They claim that wholesale bans and other restrictions on nightly or weekly house rentals (like the one in Garfield Township) prevent the lawful use of our homes.
And private property rights are an issue that we often find in common with lawmakers. For example, the wholesale ban on short term rentals in Garfield Township seems a bit harsh.
Yet we can envision a plethora of ways in which the problem could be addressed at local government level without blanket enactments from the state.
Local government members could certainly get involved in the local electoral process if they felt that a majority of their neighbors supported political change. Hell, the regulations in place in most of the Grand Traverse region’s communities sparked arduous debate and lobbying from all quarters before they were passed.
The rules in East Bay Township are a perfect example – the kind of compromise rules created through a thorough process that weighed the concerns of both full-time residents and non-resident owners who appreciate the income that short-term renters on Lake Pepper Vacation -Hotspot.
That is the real puzzle here.
Questions about building, planning and using land are generally considered to be best asked by people who live in the places that concern them.
The fact is that short term rental of apartments is often a busy, noisy commercial use, and most residential areas have fairly strict, local regulations on uses that are not exclusively used by homeowners or long-term tenants. Many of us have met or know someone who experienced the nightmare of living next to a vacation rental that creates a constant stream of ill-behaved parties.
These are the times when even the most liberal homeowners among us would ask for sensible rules to do so.
Think of all the constraints that keep the relative calm and character of most of our neighborhoods.
There are rules that prevent anyone from opening a commercial manufacturing facility in their garage. There are rules that de facto prohibit junkyards in neighborhoods. There are rules that regulate noise. There are rules that dictate where and what structures homeowners are allowed to build on their property.
Local governments regulate all sorts of things related to the use of private property.
So why should we wrest control of the short-term rental rules away from local governments?
Yes, local planning and spatial planning officials – especially in the Grand Traverse area, which is home to 25 percent of all short-term rentals in Michigan – are faced with complex questions about this blurring of the lines between homes and businesses.
It’s hard to imagine that a state law would fit our communities better than carefully crafted local guidelines.