May 8, 2018

Property rights in Minnetrista are being threatened by a proposed ban on the long established, legitimate use of property to generate income for homeowners. Short term rentals (STRs) have been in the news a lot recently with the popularity of VRBO, Airbnb and other sites that make it easy for homeowners to manage renting their properties. Several homes have been purchased in Minnetrista solely for that purpose where the owner resides elsewhere. There are state laws that protect homeowners from local governments changing the rules and leaving them high and dry without grandfathering what was previously a legitimate use, but cities can circumvent those state laws by declaring something a public nuisance and that appears to be the route Minnetrista is taking. Obviously not all short term rentals are a public nuisance or the city would be overrun with complaints and so far they don’t have any documented complaints due to short term rental usage on any properties within the city. I guess the city thinks by simply announcing STRs are public nuisances it makes it so?

The only good thing that came from last night’s council meeting on the subject was an agreement to carve out some kind of exemption for people that actually live in their home. Staff seemed rather confused about what that should look like though. Should it exempt them entirely? Should the frequency be limited? Should certain activities be banned? The Mayor read off a list of things she suggested should be prohibited including dogs, wedding parties, parties of more than 6 people, parking on city streets, etc., etc… I don’t know how staff can possibly bring back a solid, enforceable ordinance when we don’t even understand the problem yet. Understanding just doesn’t appear to be a priority…

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