In its Monday, Oct. 4, meeting, the Breezy Point City Council held a lengthy discussion regarding the city’s proposed short-term rental ordinance.
The discussion comes after three public hearings on the matter in 2021, with the most recent occurring at the council’s September meeting.
Council members Michael Moroni and Gary Bakken agreed that the penalties the ordinance currently proposes need “more teeth.” Council members Rebecca Ball and Tim Lillehei thought penalties were fine as written, and Mayor Todd Roggenkamp expressed concern over enforcement and the cost thereof.
“There are some things to keep in mind, and one is the cost,” Roggenkamp said. “We are going to go down the road of having an ordinance and we want to put teeth in it. If we want to enforce it, we are going to need someone to do it, and our current police force is not going to have the ability to be running around all the time when something is called in on a short-term issue. How do we deal with that?
“Does that mean we are going to have to start looking at adding more personnel and staff? That’s a cost, and where is that money going to come from?” he asked.
Roggenkamp also questioned the need for a city ordinance on short-term rentals altogether, saying what is currently in place at the city level mimics the Crow Wing County ordinance relatively closely.
Moroni also questioned if the language was somewhat vague in places, asking if the definition of a bedroom can be stretched by the property owners to allow for more guests at a time. Lillehei told him the definition is “almost verbatim” from the state statute.
Bakken cited a concern over potentially allowing current short-term rental owners to be “grandfathered in” - something not allowed by the county, according to Lillehei - and worried about the city not having a firm grasp on just how many short-term rental properties are actually in Breezy Point at the moment.
“I was sent Crow Wing County’s number of rentals and compared it to what we have listed, and it was grossly in error compared to what our city listed,” Bakken said. “Our city listed a far smaller number. I have asked the planning commission, ‘Does the city know how many rentals are in the city?’ and the answer was no. I also don’t know, but one would think our administrators and administration would have that figure. I would like to see that researched.”
The council agreed the process would take more time, and is unlikely to be resolved by the end of the year.
The council also discussed the need to require a zoning permit for an individual to erect a pre-built storage shed. The planning commission has previously discussed the issue and endorsed a revision to city ordinance to allow one shed - at most 10 feet by 12 feet - on properties exempt from impervious coverage restrictions. The council agreed.
“This seems like a reasonable thing to do,” Lillehei said. “... It is a good solution to a problem that has been festering in the woods for years.”
The council agreed to send the issue back to planning and zoning for further discussion, then start the public hearing process on the matter.
Dan Determan may be reached at 218-855-5879 or email@example.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Dan.