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Electric City - neighborhood or not?


The current Electric City Municipal Code clearly states its purpose “to protect residential areas from potential adverse impacts as a result of activities which may be deemed commercial in nature.”

A new City Ordinance, drafted to allow Short Term Rentals (vacation short stays) in all city residential zones, would change this. Friendly family neighborhoods would be flooded with an influx of non-owner occupied rental homes with revolving renters next to family homes. Short term rental properties are much like motels and there are reasons zoning laws keep them out of residential neighborhoods to prevent the inevitable disruption of tourism. The integrity of the residential zone is disrupted as renters are not held accountable to the neighborhood, nor are they responsible to the local community. The expectations of property owners who purchased their property with the intention of a neighborhood remaining a residential neighborhood is destroyed. Residential homeowners are conscientious citizens, considerate of neighbors and the surrounding environment. Electric City needs to preserve its residential zones, not adopt a Short Term Rental ordinance which would destroy existing neighborhoods.

There are plenty of non-owner occupied short term rental options already available in the Electric City area: at the nearby Sun Banks Resort, at the Sky Deck Motel, and just outside the city limits in Grant County. In addition, Electric City Municipal Code already allows owner-occupied short stay rentals, “hosted home stays”, whereby homeowners live in their home and rent in the form of a Bed and Breakfast. In this situation, homeowners are a part of the community and know their neighbors. They are viable members of the community, actively employed, or retired citizens. Non-owner occupied Short Term Rentals are completely commercialized enterprises in residential neighborhoods. No one lives in these homes. They are essentially hotels operating in family neighborhoods disrupting permanent residents’ quality of life, with transient strangers rotating in and out. Electric City does not need an Ordinance to allow this type of rental.

Many cities are struggling with ways to regulate and restrict existing Short Term Rental homes. Many cities completely ban Short Term Rentals. Others permit them in commercial zones only, where transient lodging is already allowed, but ban them from residential neighborhoods. Knowing the problems Short Term Rentals have caused in other cities, Electric City does not need an ordinance to allow or to regulate them. We already have laws in place to enforce problems with excessive noise, trash, parking issues and illicit behavior. We need to preserve the integrity of our existing neighborhoods, not change it to a Short Term Rental business model.

Nancy and Dave Brown

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