Opinions clash over proposed short-term rental ordinance in Ashwaubenon
ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (WBAY) - Wednesday evening’s Ashwaubenon Public Works and Protection Committee meeting was a packed house.
“The committee reviewed a proposed ordinance amendment regarding our short-term rental ordinance,” Ashwaubenon Village Manager Joel Gregozeski said. “Essentially what the amendment will do it will bring our current code of ordinances to be as stringent as state statutes allow. Presently we do not have a minimum day rental requirement. This proposal would create a seven consecutive day minimum requirement for licensees to rent out their one and two-dwelling unit buildings.”
Gregozeski said current residents expressed to their elected officials that they’re concerned about some of the annoyances and challenges that are being created sometimes by short-term rentals. This included loud noises, an increase in traffic, and an unclean neighborhood.
“To curtail some of that, we looked at the statutes and thought, well, there could be an opportunity here to further restrict the constant changeover and some of those nuisance issues by addressing it through this six-night minimum.”
Below is Section 66.1014 of Wisconsin Statutes:
66.1014 Limits on residential dwelling rental prohibited.
(1) In this section:
(a) “Political subdivision” means any city, village, town, or county.
(b) “Residential dwelling” means any building, structure, or part of the building or structure, that is used or intended to be used as a home, residence, or sleeping place by one person or by 2 or more persons maintaining a common household, to the exclusion of all others.
(a) Subject to par. (d), a political subdivision may not enact or enforce an ordinance that prohibits the rental of a residential dwelling for 7 consecutive days or longer.
(c) Nothing in this subsection limits the authority of a political subdivision to enact an ordinance regulating the rental of a residential dwelling in a manner that is not inconsistent with the provisions of pars. (a) and (d).
1. If a residential dwelling is rented for periods of more than 6 but fewer than 30 consecutive days, a political subdivision may limit the total number of days within any consecutive 365-day period that the dwelling may be rented to no fewer than 180 days. The political subdivision may not specify the period of time during which the residential dwelling may be rented, but the political subdivision may require that the maximum number of allowable rental days within a 365-day period must run consecutively. A person who rents the person’s residential dwelling shall notify the clerk of the political subdivision in writing when the first rental within a 365-day period begins.
2. Any person who maintains, manages, or operates a short-term rental, as defined in s. 66.0615 (1) (dk), for more than 10 nights each year, shall do all of the following:
a. Obtain from the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection a license as a tourist rooming house, as defined in s. 97.01 (15k).
b. Obtain from a political subdivision a license for conducting such activities, if a political subdivision enacts an ordinance requiring such a person to obtain a license.
“It will allow a municipality to place a minimum night stay of no more than six nights or seven consecutive days,” Gregozeski said. “Right now all short-term rental units that are licensed through the village can rent a single night if they would like or two nights if they would like. What this would effectively do is prohibit that and say you have to rent it no fewer than six nights or seven consecutive days.”
Gregozeski said this ordinance is only in effect for those who have a license to rent out short-term rental units within the village of Ashwaubenon. This means you are registered with the state of Wisconsin, the Agricultural Trade and Consumer Protection Department, and the village of Ashwaubenon. The short-term rental property must also be rented out for more than 10 nights throughout a calendar year.
If you have a short-term rental property and you rented out fewer than 10 nights in a calendar year, this ordinance will not apply to you, because you are not required to have a license.
During Wednesday night’s meeting, many short-term rental owners and Ashwaubenon residents attended to give their opinion on the ordinance. Many were not in agreement with the ordinance. They wanted the committee to send it back to staff to be looked over again. They also claimed having a minimum six-night stay in Ashwaubenon would hurt the local economy.
“As long as there is a tourist destination like Lambeau Field and a Titletown District, there will be a demand for fans to visit and therefore a housing market to host those fans,” short-term rental owner Logan Donovan said.
Mark Danen of Powerhouse Properties 920, said he has short-term rental properties, and those who rent them are coming to the area for a multitude of reasons outside of the eight weekends a year the Green Bay Packers are home.
“Again I ask this committee for really thinking things through and maybe punishing those property owners that are not playing by the rules, but please don’t let that affect all of those of us that are running an honoring business and bringing value and tax money to the village of Ashwaubenon,” Danen said.
Chris Zirbel, the trustee for wards 5 & 6, has heard many complaints from residents in his wards regarding the short-term rental properties. He told the crowd that his constituents are telling him they are losing their neighborhoods because they are being taken over by short-term rental properties.
“It’s gotten to the point where every house sold in my wards, virtually everyone, is going to an Airbnb and it’s killing our neighborhoods and we’re not the only community,” Zirbel said.
Zirbel also told the crowd the village is trying to bring in more families to the area so that they can raise enrollment in schools. While he says it’s great that property taxes have gone up for those short-term rentals that are making money, long-time residents say they’re not happy with an increase in property taxes.
Citizen Member JoAnn Eucline said she is a resident in Zirbel’s ward. She expressed her concerns during Wednesday’s meeting.
“I don’t like it,” Eucline said. “The people that own the house and rent it out do not take care of it. They do not have limitations on their people and our neighborhood really gets affected by that. It’s noisy, it’s smokey. They all got their grills going and their radios going, so if you are owners then you better make your rules effective.”
The committee unanimously voted to send the ordinance back to staff to work on. Committee members would also like to hear from more residents who have complained or have been impacted by the short-term rental units.
Gregozeski said with this particular ordinance, the licensing period that they’re presently in expires on June 30, 2023. If the recommendation of this ordinance were to make its way to the Village Board and passes, it would go into effect on July 1, 2023.
A copy of the committee’s agenda regarding the proposed ordinance amendment can be found here.
Action 2 News reached out to Airbnb for comment. They included the below background:
- Issues on Airbnb are rare, with less than 0.15% of stays resulting in a safety-related report by a Host or guest
- Airbnb Neighbors/Neighborhood Support Line: Airbnb offers a neighborhood support tool which provides direct access for neighbors to speak with a member of our Customer Support team to share their concerns. This hotline has proven to be an important tool in our efforts to combat unauthorized gatherings and enforce our ban on disruptive parties in accordance with our parties and events policies.
- Party House Ban: In November 2019, Airbnb took a stand against “party houses” and formally banned them from the platform in accordance with their policies. We went on to expand on that ban with more transparency about the policy, including a ban on “open-invite” parties as well as large disruptive gatherings in apartment or condo buildings. Since then, they have continued to enforce this policy, carrying out penalties for violators in markets in places like Wisconsin, California, Florida, the UK, Australia and more. Many of these suspensions and removals have stemmed from issues raised by neighbors through the Neighborhood Support Line. In 2022, the global party ban was permanently codified. Since introducing our global party ban policy in August 2020, we have seen a 55 percent year-over-two-year drop in the rate of party reports to us
- Specifically, in Brown County, Hosts account for less than 0.5% of total housing units in the County.
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