Nasewaupee, Gibraltar seeks to follow Liberty Grove’s lead

After a year of discussions and much debate, the city of Sevastopol passed its Short-Term Rental Ordinance (STR) with a restriction in place that limits the number of times a landlord can rent the property to once a week. property.

The weekly rental limit was designed to promote the character and stability of the neighborhood by limiting a constant turnover of new tenants. The owners of STR said the requirement would reduce their income, as well as the income of people who maintain rental properties for a living, such as cleaning companies.

“We are certainly disappointed that they have maintained the six-day restriction, but we are also delighted that they have made changes to their ordinance,” said Janet Slater of the Door County Vacation Rental Association (DCVRA).

This included reducing the annual application fee from $ 500 to $ 300 for the initial license and making the pet restrictions more reasonable.

“The vast majority of the ordinance is really good if you want to make sure the STRs are good neighbors,” Slater said.

The Sevastopol Ordinance will come into effect on July 1, 2022.

STRs are residential accommodation rented for less than 29 consecutive days, typically through online accommodation marketplaces such as Airbnb and Vrbo. These houses, chalets and chalets rented to tourists continue to multiply as their popularity increases. The availability of STRs in Door County increased by 51.48% from 2009 to 2020, and as of May 2021, approximately 1,500 units in Door County were in the STR category.

Among the ordinances considered or adopted to date, all have similarities in seeking to ensure that the owners of these rental residences work with their tenants to remain good neighbors by regulating noise, parking, garbage and animals, for example. Occupancy maximums that protect groundwater resources by not overloading a private on-site wastewater treatment system are also standard, as are requirements that STR owners have the required license from the Ministry of Agriculture. , State Commerce and Consumer Protection, and the required permit from the Door County Tourist Zone Commission (DCTZC), which collects tourist tax.

Permit fees are also part of the annual requirements, although each municipality has a different fee structure. The lowest rate is the Village of Egg Harbor Business License of $ 25 per year; the highest is Sevastopol’s rate of $ 300 for its initial STR license.

DCVRA is a non-profit organization representing the owners of STR that formed during Sevastopol’s review of its ordinance. The group said in public meetings that it was funded and ready to take legal action if the city passed the ordinance with the six-night rule. Now that he’s passed, Slater has said Sevastopol is not influencing other municipalities as the group feared.

“How we envision it for the whole of Door County, there was talk early on that Sevastopol would be a role model,” Slater said. “But now other cities are doing it without the six-night restriction. Sevastopol is now the outlier rather than the model. This is the biggest change that has happened from where we were.

“I think because we see other cities taking a much wiser vision, we want to work with the cities and establish a collaborative relationship,” Slater added. “Litigation is a last resort in developing relationships with people. “

The Village of Egg Harbor and the Town of Sturgeon Bay passed STR ordinances a few years ago, but it wasn’t until this year that other municipalities began to take action. The city of Liberty Grove passed its ordinance in June with no rental restrictions. The town of Nasewaupee is now also considering an unrestricted tenancy ordinance, said Steve Sullivan, chairman of the city council.

Sullivan said there are about 54 STRs in the city, and only two of them have been in trouble due to advertised occupancy maximums that exceed standards for private on-site wastewater treatment systems.

“We’re not going to limit the days they’ll rent it; at least I don’t think we are, ”Sullivan said. “There are so many people doing a good job. You really don’t want to punish everyone.

The city briefly discussed an ordinance in July and will have it on its agenda for its regular board meeting in August.

Likewise, a draft STR ordinance was withdrawn from the Gibraltar City Planning Commission and was on the city council agenda for August 4, after the deadline for this issue of the newspaper. The proposed ordinance has no rental restriction, said Linda Merline, chair of the Gibraltar Plan Commission.

“It was a part that we don’t care about,” she said.

Instead, and similar to the village of Egg Harbor model, the city intends to establish a business licensing program that would apply to all businesses, including DOSs. The license would cost $ 45 per year. STR owners would also be required to show proof of license issued by the state and DCTZC, but STRs would be treated like all other businesses.

“The city council is absolutely committed to being fair and equal,” said Travis Thyssen, administrator of the city of Gibraltar. “We’re not trying to go after STRs; we openly accept them. They are a big part of our community. We just want it to be fair.

Thyssen said the city is considering the business license as a way to get emergency contact information for all businesses. Additionally, key holders for all businesses, including DOSs, would not have residency requirements, but should be able to respond to an emergency or complaint within 45 minutes.

Thyssen said he believes they have around 90 DOSs in the city out of a total of 230 companies. He didn’t expect the board to impose rental limits at this time. Looking to the future, should STRs become “overloaded,” he said the city might consider limiting the number of STR licenses it allows, in the same way as alcohol licenses.

If all goes according to plan, Gibraltar’s business license would be implemented for 2022, with public outreach starting this fall.