Ann Arbor’s New Board Seeks A Way To Keep Airbnb Homes In Neighborhoods
ANN ARBOR, MI – New Ann Arbor City Council seeks to cancel the ban of the last tip on dedicated Airbnb homes in residential areas.
Council voted 7-4 Monday night, Dec. 21, to ask city staff and the Planning Commission to develop and propose bylaws to allow the continued operation of pre-existing short-term rentals.
Without further action from the new council, a ban on short-term rental properties in residential neighborhoods approved 7-4 in September would go into effect in March.
Mayor Christopher Taylor and some newly elected council members want to find a way to protect people who have already invested in turning neighborhood properties into short-term rentals before there are any bans.
“Short-term leasing is an emerging industry in Ann Arbor,” said Taylor’s proposed resolution. “Many landlords entered the short-term rental business in the Town of Ann Arbor prior to specific town regulations.”
The council was factionalized over the mayor’s resolution to review the bylaws, with opposition from Kathy Griswold, Jeff Hayner, Elizabeth Nelson and Ali Ramlawi.
The city is expected to pass a more tailored ordinance that will ban the expansion of short-term, unoccupied rentals in neighborhoods because too much is not good for the community, but will allow existing rentals to continue, Taylor said.
Hayner, D-1st Ward and Ramlawi, D-5th Ward, have raised concerns that the city may pick winners and losers.
The requested changes are narrowly tailored and could help the city avoid a lawsuit, Taylor said.
Hayner and Griswold, D-2nd Ward, both suggested it might be better if there was a lawsuit and the short-term rental settlements went through a settlement or court order.
Hayner agreed with the mayor that the ban approved in September went too far and Griswold said she wanted to take some relief from short-term rental owners, but neither think the mayor’s approach is the way to go. .
The city must regulate short-term rentals in a way that balances the needs of the community and does not expose the city to unnecessary financial or legal risk, said council member Jen Eyer, D-4th Ward, supporting the proposal. of the mayor.
As for concerns some have about some short-term rentals as nuisance in the neighborhood, Eyer noted that licenses can be revoked for nuisance issues.
Nelson, D-4th Ward, said dedicated short-term rental properties in neighborhoods are depleting the housing supply and between 100 and 200 housing units are at stake.
Under the regulatory board approved in September, local residents could still sometimes rent their own homes for additional income, Nelson said.
And short-term rentals of properties that aren’t owner-occupied aren’t entirely banned – they’re just banned from being in residential areas, she said.
“So if there is a need for this business model and if owner-occupied properties are not enough to fill that need, I would expect advancing investors to pay particular attention to areas that are properly zoned for it, ”Nelson said.
Council member Travis Radina, D-3rd Arrondissement, said he heard fascinating stories of residents renovating their homes and moving into short-term rentals, or people visiting relatives in a hospital who wish to stay in. a house rather than a hotel.
“Future investors should definitely look into areas that are properly zoned in the future for purchasing additional properties used for this purpose,” he said. “My concern is to punish residents who have purchased these properties and operate them legally within the limits of applicable law, to invest in these properties and make improvements to these properties for this purpose, and then remove the underside mat. . “
Council member Erica Briggs, D-5th Ward, has expressed support for having a mix of uses in residential neighborhoods.
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