2018-02-08 / Local News

S-B hires national firm to regulate rentals

By Eric Carlson
Of The Enterprise staff

The Suttons Bay Township Board has finalized a contract with a Californiabased firm to enforce its short-term rental ordinance.

Host Compliance operates online and manages short term rental enforcement for municipalities across the U.S.

Township treasurer Cathy Hartesvelt said last week the township stands to save $4,658 on the contract since the Township Board authorized her at its regular monthly meeting on Jan. 10 to clarify terms and suggest modifications.

At a special meeting on Jan. 24, she explained that the updated contract will not include provisions for “online mobile permitting” and will cost the township $2,826 per year, not $7,484 as originally estimated.

Host Compliance will identify all residential properties in the township that are being marketed online for use as short term rentals and will help ensure compliance with the township’s new short-term rental ordinance.

The company checks to ensure that property owners obtain the required permits to operate short term rentals and provides a toll-free phone number neighbors can call to report complaints about noise, trash, improper parking and other concerns. The firm then follows up with property owners and township officials.

Hartesvelt said that as of last month, Host Compliance had confirmed the existence of 69 properties being offered as short-term rentals in the township. Earlier estimates put the number at closer to 100. Of the 69 confirmed, 30 had applied for short-term rental permits from the township as of last month, Hartesvelt noted.

Short-term rentals in the township’s residential district are not allowed under township zoning unless property owners apply for and receive a permit from the township.

The Township Board adopted the new Short-Term Rental ordinance last year; it went into effect Jan. 1. Officials are hopeful that everyone who owns and operates a short-term rental property in the township will apply for and obtain a permit before the busy summer visitor season begins.

Also at their special meeting, members of the Township Board conducted a work session on the township’s budget for the new fiscal year that begins April 1. The board will hold a formal public hearing on the budget at its regular monthly meeting on March 14 at 5:15 p.m.

Hartesvelt reported that the current draft general fund budget anticipates $440,956 in revenue and $392,663 in expenses for fiscal 2018-2019.

Members of the Township Board also discussed setting aside some money for removal of dead or dying trees in township parks. In addition, they discussed the fiscal impact of their contract to provide planning and zoning services to neighboring Bingham Township.

Township staff planner Kathy Egan recently resigned to take a position with Networks Northwest in Traverse City. The Township Board discussed ways Egan, or at least the services she provided, might be replaced, and the effect on the contract with Bingham Township, Hartesvelt said. No decisions were made.

A potential date for the township’s annual “spring cleanup” was discussed, Hartesvelt added. Township supervisor Rich Bahle agreed to discuss the issue with his counterpart, Bingham Township Supervisor Midge Werner, and with offiials of the Village of Suttons Bay. Tentatively, the “free dump day” may be held May 19.

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