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Couples voice objections to short-term rentals


How do you effectively stop a “short-term rental” operation from getting roots in your neighborhood?

Two couples on Lakeview Avenue in Electric City are trying to come up with answers.

David and Nancy Brown and Mark and Debbie Jenson have been actively trying to convince the city council that partying, noise and drinking have no place in their quiet setting along with their unobstructed views of Banks Lake.

Last summer, groups started appearing at a house in their neighborhood through a “short-term rental” operation. The Browns had noticed the property listed on the Airbnb website, as well as VRBO which stands for “Vacation Rentals By Owner.” The house had been purchased in October the previous year by Terry and Debra Ann Jensen, who reside in Edmonds, Washington.

“It started early summer,” Nancy Brown said during an interview Tuesday, “and went on through Labor Day. The STR was in direct violation of city zoning codes.

When the city was advised of the rental operation, officials there allowed it to continue through the time that advance reservations had already been made.

Then it was stopped.

Now, the residents of the quiet, lakeside neighborhood face a continuing challenge. The city has drafted an ordinance which would allow short-term rentals in the city.

The ordinance has a long way to travel before it can be implemented. It must pass two public hearings, and then the council, before it would become law.

The Browns and Jensons are still trying to figure out who is pushing for the new ordinance.

They have appeared before the council, letting them know about the partying and invasion of privacy that went on last summer with people crowding into the house next to them.

The couples noted loud partying would continue until 2 a.m. or later, that those staying in the house would shoot off fireworks, toss their cigarettes onto the dry ground, and be loud in general, including frequent use of the “f word” that could be heard even with their windows closed. The Browns noted that, at one point, people wandered into their backyard.

The two couples appeared before the council again last night, reminding city council members of their concern.

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