PARK TOWNSHIP, Mich. — It was standing room only at Thursday’s Park Township planning commission work session. Nearly 100 residents voiced their concerns over a new short-term rental ordinance, which would replace the township’s 1974 ordinance that bans all short-term rentals entirely.
The nearly five-decades-old ordinance has never been enforced and now locals are worried the adaptation of a new ordinance would only attract more rentals. Noise, trash, and parking issues have been long time concerns of Park Township residents.
“If we [enforced] the current ordinance, then it would absolutely [eliminate] family cottages,” said Dave Kleinjans, who is part of the planning commission.
John Gocke said many of the current short-term rentals are not kept up well and have caused the shortage of home options for first time buyers. “I love the community and all of it’s wonder, and I can say it has not changed for the better.”
Others expressed concerns of whether tourism dollars were actually being spent in Park Township or if neighboring communities, like Holland, were truly the areas benefiting from renters.
Marc Baer, who lives next to his own short-term rental, said he’s worried about the proposed ordinance and its possible permit lottery system.
“The lottery simply fails to deal directly with the nuisances, for there is no guarantee that problematic landlords will not get permits,” he said. “Nor would it guarantee landlords, such as us, won’t be denied permits and thus be forced to sell the property.”
The current draft of the commission’s ordinance includes limiting special use permits in all zoning districts, a lottery system to delegate 252 permits and at least a six-night stay to deter from party houses that would be used only on the weekend.
The final draft is expected to be complete by November. While House Bill 4722, which is making its way through Lansing, would limit local communities and their abilities to regulate short-term rentals.