New Baltimore studies short-term rental regulations – The Voice
Want to get away for a little trip? How about a “charming lakeside vacation rental?” Or a “captivating three-bedroom house with a hot tub?” Maybe a “comfortable bungalow superior apartment in booming downtown New Baltimore?”
These are just a few descriptions of properties in New Baltimore listed on popular vacation rental site Airbnb. For some, short-term rentals can be an affordable way to take a break from the daily grind and enjoy a vacation. But for others, a frequent turnover of customers in a neighborhood residence is a source of concern.
New Baltimore resident Cindy Labellarte raised concerns about short-term rental properties with city council members at their Aug. 8 meeting. She urged authorities to regulate vacation rentals in the city, wondering how they might impact the community.
“I’m here to hopefully convince you to have a city ordinance against Airbnbs in our town – our quiet, beautiful little paradise on and around the lake,” she said.
“We have very small lots where we live. They are 55 feet tall. We are all together, a very small and quiet community, ”she added. “And I’m very concerned about what it would bring to our neighborhood.”
Labellarte said his concerns began after the house next to his residence on Lagae Street was put up for sale and investment firms began reviewing the property.
“These businesses are popping up – it’s a trend that’s happening in Chesterfield and Clay and in Algonac,” she told council members. “And when these quiet little streets become Airbnbs, which is basically a motel, there are new people coming in and out every weekend.”
“We have very limited resources for parking, and I’m very worried,” she added.
Before addressing the issue during public comments at the recent city council meeting, Labellarte also met with Mayor Tom Semaan and spoke at a planning commission meeting. After a discussion between the mayor and the chairman of the planning commission, the city attorney was asked to consider a possible ordinance regulating short-term rentals in the community.
“We are currently in the process of looking at what a prescription might look like – not getting one – we are just investigating,” Semaan said. “The City Attorney has advised me that there is some language we may be able to look at moving forward. That’s all I know at this point.
City council will ultimately have the final say on any type of ordinance that may be brought forward, the mayor noted.
“It’s still a long way off, but we’re thinking about it,” he told Labellarte. “So thank you for bringing this to our attention and making it something that we can also be aware of. And we take this concern very seriously.
“I appreciate that,” Labellarte said.
The neighboring township of Chesterfield, another lakeside community, also currently does not have an ordinance regulating short-term/vacation rentals, township officials said.