Lakeshore townships band together to oppose short-term rental bill


PARK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Lakeshore leaders came together Monday to push back against a state bill that would prevent local municipalities from broadly disallowing short-term rentals.

The bill, which passed the state House about two weeks ago, would remove local governments’ ability to ban short-term rentals using zoning ordinances. That means more property owners could rent out their properties weekly or through services like Airbnb.

Lakeshore township supervisors say the bill would force a one-size-fits-all rule on communities that have already come up with ways to regulate short-term rentals. They say local governments should be able to institute whatever rules they deem fit with input from their residents.

“We came up with an ordinance that works. It is working. We do have short-term rentals,” Spring Lake Township Supervisor John Nash said. “I guess the things that’s most offensive to us is for the state to say, ‘Well, you have to do this in your community.'”

One of opponents’ main sticking points is that the bill would force locals to allow up to 30% of homes to be used as short-term rentals.

“Allowing up to 30% of homes in each community to be short-term rentals is staggering,” Park Township Supervisor Jim Gerard said. “This is going to break down neighborhoods. This is going to take away homes from families that are going to remove to the area, families with children; this is going to reduce the number of children in our schools.”

“This would impact our attainable housing goals in the township,” added Saugatuck Township Supervisor Cindy Osman. “The prices are already high. Prices continue to go up. When out-of-state people come and buy property, that’s now not available for families and children.”

Some towns have put restrictions on short-term rentals or even banned them entirely.

Lawmakers supporting the House bill — as well as an accompanying measure in the state Senate that is still awaiting a vote — say they give homeowners the ability to use their properties as they see fit.

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