(New Buffalo, MI) - A cap on short term vacation rentals in residential neighborhoods in New Buffalo could become permanent before summer along with tougher enforcement to protect neighbors from disruption.
Members of the New Buffalo City Council and New Buffalo Planning Commission held a joint session on March 17 to discuss a proposed change in strategy designed to alleviate a growing concern. A cap of 65 vacation rentals in residential areas is among the proposals expected to be presented for a vote by the city council sometime in April.
The cap is designed to slow down or reduce the sharp growth of single family residences converted into rentals for occupancy of less than a month particularly during the summer. The other proposal is aimed at stronger enforcement to put a tighter lid on noise and other disruption from parties hosted by guests at some of the rental homes.
Violations of code governing use of the rentals would be handled internally rather than in the courts to reduce the amount of time and expense involved with enforcement. "This is intended to make the process more feasible and cost efficient,” said Acting City Manager Rich Killips.
Another problem the city is looking to help solve is a reduction in the amount of housing available to prospective full-time residents. Mayor John Humphrey said adding permanent residents would help provide a more year round economy in a community where second homes outnumber primary residences by a four to one margin.
“We need to create a basis not only for a vibrant economy for three months but for the full year. To do that, we need to build our residency back. One way to get back to that is to protect our residential neighborhoods and start building a culture of residency again,” he said. “We got the schools to do it,” Humphrey said.