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Public hearing set for short-term rental policy

Alex Doty • Feb 6, 2017 at 12:00 PM

The Grand Haven Planning Commission will hear public comments regarding possible changes to the city’s short-term rental housing rules at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21.

“That will be the official public hearing,” city planner Jennifer Howland said. “But we’ve been collecting public comments at every meeting that it has been on the agenda.”

The hearing stems from the city’s short-term rental talks, which began in April 2016 when the city established a Short-Term Rental Housing Committee. The committee was tasked with reviewing current short-term rental regulations put in place in 2008, discussing how the program has affected zoning districts where the use is permitted, and making future policy recommendations to City Council.

Howland said planning commissioners will get a draft policy to review, and will then make a recommendation to City Council.

Last fall, City Council approved a four-month short-term rental application moratorium intended to allow the special committee, the Planning Commission and council time to draft possible changes to the city’s short-term rental ordinance. The moratorium was recently extended through May 1, but expires early if any short-term rental ordinance amendments are adopted.

The moratorium excludes zoning districts not traditionally known for single-family residential use: the central business, waterfront 2 and planned development districts. It also allows city staff to review, accept and process applications for short-term rental certificates for units that were purchased after Jan. 1, 2016.

Earlier this year, City Council set a date of April 17 for when it would like to see a draft amendment from the Planning Commission.

Grand Haven isn’t the only local community that has dealt with the short-term rental discussions as of late. The Spring Lake Township Board recently approved short-term rental restrictions, which limit homeowners to 14 days of rental in no more than two separate periods. No more than 12 people will be allowed in the house, and the landlord must be reachable and able to respond to requests for help from the renters within three hours.

The Ferrysburg City Council also plans to discuss the possibility of short-term rental ordinance changes.

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