HUGO — Whether short-term rentals should be allowed within the city is up for debate. 

The Ordinance Review Committee (ORC) has been directed by the City Council to review the City Code and provide a recommendation to the council. The ORC is made up of two City Council members — Mike Miron and Phil Klein — and three Planning Commission members, Bronwen Kleissler, Scott Arcand and Kim Luchsinger.

Community Development Director Rachel Juba explained to the council April 5 that city staff received a complaint on a short-term rental facility that advertises on the website Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO). The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has also received numerous complaints on the property related to noise, parties and the transient nature of short-term rentals. 

“After reviewing the City Code, it is in staff’s opinion that short-term rentals are not allowed in the city,” Juba said. “The City Code does not define or address short-term rentals.” 

The owner of the short-term rental requested the City Council evaluate allowing short-term rental facilities. City staff recommended the council discuss the topic and forward it to the ORC for an evaluation and recommendation. 

Mayor Tom Weidt wanted to know what qualified as “short-term.” Juba explained that they are not referring to rentals with a yearlong lease, but rather a home being rented for a week or long weekend. 

Weidt said, “So we are essentially turning a house in a neighborhood into a hotel for a night or weekend?” 

Juba said yes, elaborating, “A long-term rental is probably okay per our code because it is still used as a single-family home, which would be permitted in a residentially zoned district. It’s the transient nature of a short-term facility that is not defined in our code.” 

Weidt and Council Member Becky Petryk both refrained from sharing their opinions about the matter but agreed that the issue needed study.

Petryk said, “I think this is an excellent move. This is something that we should address.”

 

Lead Editor Shannon Granholm can be reached at 651-407-1227 or citizennews@presspubs.com.

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