Ferrysburg considering short-term rental regulations

Marie Havenga • Dec 2, 2017 at 11:30 AM

Ferrysburg City Council will get its first look at a proposed short-term rental ordinance at its Monday meeting, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at City Hall.

The city’s Planning Commission drafted the ordinance, after complaints from some residents last year about wild parties and inappropriate behavior in homes being rented out on a short-term vacation basis.

“This is something they've been working on the better part of the year trying to come up with regulations regarding short-term rentals,” City Manager Craig Bessinger said. “They drafted an ordinance and recommend to City Council to adopt that ordinance.”

The draft ordinance would require stays of no less than seven days and regulate the number of occupants allowed, depending on the number of bedrooms and bedroom size. Each property owner would have to have a local agent listed for contact in case of problems. Owners would be required to register their rental homes by Jan. 2 of each year.

The registration fee would double, from $25 to $50.

Campfires would be limited to closed containers and at least 20 feet away from dune grass. RVs and camping guests would not be allowed in rental driveways or yards.

“I think the Planning Commission came up with a nice balance regulating the rental units in the city,” Bessinger said.

The short-term rental issue will likely become a hot-button topic in Ferrysburg, as it has been in other local communities.

During initial discussions in December 2016, Ferrysburg residents spoke both in support and against new short-term rental regulations.

Unlike neighboring Spring Lake Township, which has different short-term rental rules for different zoning areas, Ferrysburg’s new rules would be applied across the entire city.

The soonest the ordinance could be adopted would be Dec. 18. If approved by council, it would take effect early next year.

There are currently 227 registered short- and long-term rentals in Ferrysburg, according to Bessinger.

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