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Boreal Community Media

More Work Needed on Proposed Vacation Rental Ordinance

Apr 12, 2019 02:09PM ● By Editor

Media Release from Cook County MN - April 12, 2019  

A public hearing on the Proposed Vacation Rental Ordinance held Wednesday, April 10, at the Cook County Courthouse, saw about 35 members of the community along with the Planning Commission in attendance. The Hearing, at which no final decisions were to be made, included a presentation by Land Services Director Tim Nelson, public comment and questions to the Planning Commission about the proposed ordinance. 

With an increase in vacation rental usage over the last several years along with growing concerns that have arisen, Cook County has begun exploring the need to regulate short-term rentals. The intent of the Vacation Rental Ordinance is to continue the allowed use of private vacation rental homes and cabins, but also mitigate possible adverse impacts of those operations. The draft ordinance would establish basic requirements for each rental operation. The draft ordinance was presented to the County Board of Commissioners on March 12 for review. The Board subsequently decided to move ahead with a public hearing process to gather community input. 

“The fact that the public hearing saw a packed house indicates how much interest has been generated in the possibility of County-level regulations for vacation rental operations,” said Tim Nelson, Director of Land Services.  “It is always good to receive as much public comment from all sides as we have leading up to and including the hearing. Since we have received a substantial amount of public input, we will be cataloging all of the comments received and will continue the discussion at the May 8 Meeting. It is important to note that the Planning Commission serves in an advisory role for the County Board of Commissioners, so they will be only making a recommendation to the County Board who will ultimately make the final decision. 

We know this is difficult discussion as it intends to strike and maintain a balance between property owners being able to derive a revenue stream through short-term rentals against neighbors’ expectations of the quiet enjoyment of their properties, along with broader community concerns.”

A total of 13 speakers appeared to make public comment representing varying opinions and interests before the public comment period closed and the Planning Commission passed a motion to table ordinance until May meeting. There was agreement that the draft ordinance needs more work and the Planning Commission was split on whether additional regulation is required, also wanting more information on some of the existing concerns such as records of complaints, education being provided to short-term renters and environmental and health and safety concerns.

The issue will be brought back to the May 8 Planning Commission Meeting for more discussion.

Tim Nelson, Director - Land Services, 218-387-3633 or [email protected]


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