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State bills that would nix local control over short term rentals concerns Frankenmuth leader

City manager says new legislation would change the fabric of neighborhoods across the state
(WJRT)
Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 6:00 PM EDT
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SAGINAW COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - A group of Michigan lawmakers has introduced two bills that would essentially eliminate local control over short term rental properties.

A mid-Michigan city manager is sounding the alarm, saying if these bills become law, your neighborhood may never be the same.

“Frankenmuth is known as a tourism community, but at the heart of Frankenmuth is our residents and our strong neighborhoods,” says Frankenmuth City Manager Bridget Smith.

Its those neighborhoods that has Smith concerned when it comes to bills working their way through the state legislature.

If approved, she says the bills would strip local government’s ability to put restrictions on short-term rentals

“Every single one of your neighbors under this bill could turn their home in a short term rental, either 100 percent of the time or when they find it convenient,” says Smith.

She says Frankenmuth updated its short term rental policy a couple of years ago. Restrictions are in place, such as home owners informing short term renters of all the city’s ordinances, from noise, trash and parking.

But under the legislation, short-term rentals would be considered a residential use and exempt from special or conditional use permitting.

“So the idea that those strong residential neighborhoods could be turned into hundreds of really tiny hotels is a frightening to me from an administrative perspective. but also to those neighbors who have made a lifetime investment into their homes,” says Smith.

Its not clear if the bills will pass in their present form.

State Senator Jim Ananich has expressed support for the senate bill, but says he is following the legislation closely and working with its sponsor and stakeholders to make improvements.

Smith believes every resident in the state should be aware of the consequences if it passes in its current form.

“With local control being eliminated, you won’t have anyone to call,” she says.

State Senator Ken Horn of Frankenmuth is looking to reintroduce a bill he proposed last year, saying the “one-size-fits-all” approach may not be the best way to legislate short term rentals.

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