On October 10 I attended my second St. Louis County sponsored meeting on new proposed regulations for people who rent property for vacations as a form of income.
I personal agree the regulation is much needed.
Especially for health and safety, however, as a property owner I do have concern with the new regulation that reads “The St. Louis County Planning and Community Development Director may impose additional standards or conditions that will reduce impacts of the proposed use on neighboring properties.
Said standards or conditions include but are not limited to fences, vegetative screening along property lines or shoreline and quiet hours.”
I brought this concern up at the Oct. 10th meeting, that it is a system set up for bias. If one person was capable of having the sole control over another man’s property why even have a planning a zoning board to begin with, why can’t one person just handle it.
At minimal this should be an issue for the planning and zoning board to decide, not one person. They tried to reassure me that there would be a process to overturn the decision, but that is not the same. By putting the burden the department to have a planning and zoning committee make a mandatory cost and change of personal property to pease a neighbor, and possibly remove the right to rent would have to be a pretty substantial reason. It leaves the question, why are resorts and hotels not subject to the same controls or any other property for that matter?
I can say from experience I was the bad neighbor next door who rented my house and disrupted the neighbors. I have been in my house 19 years and I love my neighbors, this did not happen because I did not care. Most reservations are made a year in advance, so when you know something needs to be corrected it can take some time to get through your prior commitments. Through two plus years of renting and learning I had a great summer and so did my immediate neighbors. But it took years to realize and develop a system that worked for me and had less of an impact on community.
As a small business owner and longtime problem solver I realized that education is missing in the rental process. People who have no experience are understandably eager to make a few bucks in this worldwide trend. Over the past few years, I have helped many people develop their own rentals, so through this experience I believe the County’s first step should be to make people get educated on the impacts they can have in this process, I believe it would help the communities.
The county department cited three key factors that lead them to the new proposed regulations:
Health and Safety
Resorts and Hotels
Impact on the Neighbors.
I agree with the three key factors completely, however I believe a person’s basic rights to buy, sell or rent should also be a key factor. I also believe that the economical impact on the community is another key factor that should absolutely be considered. Cook County did a study that found that more than $15 million was spend in their community in 2014 from vacation home rentals. I think everyone can agree that the Iron Range is in desperate need of the revenue the rentals are bringing in.
Many families have rented their property in a effort to just keep it, or used it to subsidize a property that could not sell in the job lacking communities. Land sales have increased due to this new way to vacation. Education on the impacts and a complaint system can help give communities an immediate voice while holding the property owner accountable to produce a win win for everyone involved.
From what I understand from the meeting, about half of the current property owners will probably be required to rezone, which could cause an overwhelming and back log of the system. The pubic at the meeting made it clear that the meeting was not advertised well and was at 11 a.m. on a Thursday when most people work. The next tentative public meeting is slated for December.
I understand, respect and see all the sides to this progressive and complicated subject. It is a very emotional topic when you are dealing with a person’s basic rights, money and the quality of life for others. I hope the county does take into consideration an educational program that can help bridge the gap. I have forwarded my thoughts to the County Commissioners.