Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) The Common Council discussed proposed regulations for short-term rentals that would streamline the process for homeowners and allow the City to collect room tax.
A short-term rental such as an Airbnb is classified as a “tourist house” under City code, meaning those wishing to rent out a room or house must go through the process of rezoning their property before applying for a conditional use permit.
City staff presented the Council with its preferred option to allow rentals in all zoning districts and to create a license for those who plan on renting their property, meaning the city could track the rentals and collect room tax. The license would include zoning related regulations, such as the number of parking spaces available.
Through this option, the City could also decide the number of consecutive days the property could be rented, such as 1-29 days or 3-29 days, to allow for night and weekend stays.
Short-term rentals are defined by the state as a dwelling offered for 29 days or less. New state requirements state that municipalities cannot ban short-term rentals of 7 days or longer, but can ban rentals offered for fewer than 7 days. A city can also restrict the number of days a property can be rented to 180 days or more.
Those who manage a rental for more than 10 nights now need a tourist rooming house license from the Wisconsin DATCP in addition to any county or city permits. Both Wood and Marathon counties require a license and inspection.
Members of the Council discussed the regulations proposed by City staff.
“I understand that obviously maybe hotels might have an issue with this, but competition is always a good thing,” said Alderman Adam Fischer. “I’m very supportive of the idea, more just concerned that we don’t overregulate but have a basis so that we can have a better understanding of what we’re dealing with as far as numbers.”
“I do see that there is a need for these in certain instances, not just when rooms are full, but there are people who have health or dietary needs that a hotel or motel room just cannot provide, and restaurants cannot provide because they’re very restrictive needs,” said Alderman Tom Witzel. “Having a house that they can rent for a weekend or a week, I think that’s a great thing.”
“I am of the belief that this is something that’s going to be with us, and I think having some sort of regulation regarding that is better than no regulation at all,” said Alderman Peter Hendler.
The Council voted 9-1 in favor of City staff’s preferred option for regulating short-term rentals and will send the item back to Plan Commission.