Minnehaha County Commission trying to put the cat back in the bag on Short-Term vacation rentals

I guess short-term rentals in MC have become the wild west of vacation rentals;

The Minnehaha Planning Commission is looking to propose a clearer definition – and tighter regulations – for Airbnbs and other short-term vacation rentals in the county. Here’s what an early draft would mean for local rentals.

While I support some regulation, and many neighbors do also, I think some of the recommendations are extremely broad, ignorant and unneeded.

It would also create a separate conditional use permit specific to Airbnb-type rentals. That permit would have its own set of requirements.

I agree there needs to be registration, but it should be a simple filing fee of $50 or so, not $500 per year. I also think the city should piggyback on the proposal and impose quarterly health inspections to insure there are no issues with bed bugs, plumbing, HVAC, etc. just like hotel rooms. There should also be a county and city BID tax applied to such entities. But there are some pie in the sky proposals;

  • Vacation rentals can’t have more than two guests per bedroom.

There is absolutely NO way of enforcing this. Is the county and perhaps the city going to show up in the middle of the night to every single rental when they have a resident and make sure this rule is being abided by? Hell No! Making rules you won’t or can’t enforce reminds me of the tobacco ban in city parks or texting and driving. When you make a law, and ordinance or rule, you must also have a plan for enforcement, what is that plan?

  • Minimum parking requirements are one space per guest. (So, if you’ve got an Airbnb that sleeps 12, you need 12 parking spots minimum.)

This one made me bust up laughing. So if a family of 6 rents a place, they have to have 6 parking spots for the two adult parents and 4 children? Or the individual business traveler who takes and UBER to their destination? While I do support some kind of parking requirement, it should only be a minimum two spots per unit. I have used VRBO in the past, and their has only been ONE parking spot provided (that I didn’t use).

There is also NO reason to regulate this private property industry past health inspections and registration since the industry does a pretty good job of regulating BAD clients. You can’t just show up an hour before booking and move in, you have to be vetted by the the service providers and can be denied for any reason.

I have to say the reason I think short-term vacation rentals are so popular is because they are more affordable then hotel stays and my experience has been stellar. It’s like having your own condo on vacation without room service but the comforts of home. Here is a picture of my building patio view at my last VRBO which cost about 75% less then a hotel room miles from the beach.

I wonder if the MCC even did a nationwide study of what other cities and counties do, or if they just listened to some whiny neighbors on Wall Lake?

Short term rentals DO need regulation, but it should be applied in baby steps, and it should have a plan for enforcement.



2 comments ↓

#1 D@ily Spin on 12.05.22 at 8:28 am

It’s disturbing when government restricts who you invite into your home. Isn’t this a form of martial law?
This may provoke millions of dollars in litigation. AirBNB and VRBO can’t accept regulation. It ruins their business plan and operations.

What if hotel franchises join them as a class resulting in NO bed tax? Does the county want to become the National example?

#2 Very Stable Genius on 12.05.22 at 6:34 pm

Why make a residential versus commercial distinction, in terms of zoning, if you are going to allow AirBNBs to exist?