Additional Thoughts (May 1, 2021) – Short Term Rentals

May 1, 2021 | City Council

The following was originally published in my May 1, 2021 Newsletter in the “Additional Thoughts” section.

The biggest Ward 4 topic on this week’s agenda is the short-term rental (STR) ordinance amendments.

PH-3/B-3 (21-0537) An Ordinance to Amend Table 5.15-1, Table 5.15-2, Sections 5.33, 5.37.2.P and 5.37.2.S, of Chapter 55 (Unified Development Code) of Title V of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (Short Term Rentals) (CPC Recommendation: Approval – 8 Yeas and 1 Nay) (ORD-21-12)

PH-4/B-4 (21-0539) An Ordinance to Amend Sections 7:651 and 7:654 of Chapter 97 (Short-Term Rentals) of Title VII of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (ORD-21-13)

Last September, Council passed an ordinance prohibiting non-owner occupied (investment) STR businesses in residential neighborhoods. Agenda items B-3 and B-4 will permit all existing non-owner occupied STRs to continue doing business in residential neighborhoods. The proposed amendments define current STR businesses as a “legal nonconforming use” that may carry on continuously and indefinitely for every future owner of the property. The City still does not know exactly how many non-owner occupied STR businesses qualify for this special exception, but this week, staff shared updated information about additional STR businesses that have self-reported since our last discussion. So far, we know of 141 housing units functioning as full-time STR businesses in residential neighborhoods.

I will be voting against these amendments because I believe those housing units serve a higher purpose for the benefit of long-term tenants and year-round residents. I wrote more explanation of my position last month, when these amendments were first proposed: