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Packer Party House Ban in Jeopardy

Proposed amendment to state budget would prohibit local control

By Allison Swanson
Ashwaubenon Village Manager

Frequently, the Wisconsin state budget will have non-budget related policy items tacked on to the budget. This year is no different. The Joint Finance Committee of the Wisconsin State Legislature recently approved language for the state budget bill affecting short-term rentals or sometimes referred to as Packer Party Houses. The amendments to the budget bill provide:

  • Local municipalities may not enact any ordinance that prohibits the rental of residential dwellings for seven or more days;
  • Any person who operates a short-term rental for more than 10 nights per year must obtain a license from the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and a license from a local municipality if required by the local municipality;
  • Requires lodging marketplaces, such as AirBNB and VRBO, to collect sales and room taxes as required by the state and local municipalities.

Although the Village is supportive of the proposed licensing requirements and having lodging marketplaces collect sales and room taxes, the limitation on the ability of local municipalities to not enact any ordinance that prohibits the rental of homes for seven or more days is problematic.   The Village of Ashwaubenon currently prohibits short term rentals throughout the majority of the Village. There are two designated areas on Blue Ridge Drive and Stadium Drive where property owners could obtain Conditional Use Permits for short term rentals. However, the areas prohibited by local ordinance would directly conflict with the new state law if the budget is adopted and signed by the Governor in its current form.

The Ashwaubenon ordinance was adopted in 2016 in response to neighborhood concerns about safety, keeping business uses out of single family residential areas, and keeping housing affordable for families to live year-round in our community.

The Village is working with Representative David Steffen and Senator Rob Cowles to eliminate the language precluding local municipalities from prohibiting short term rentals. If you are still concerned about short term rentals in your neighborhood, contact Governor Scott Walker’s office at (608)-266-1212 or email at [email protected]. Ask Governor Walker to veto the recently added budget provision that prohibits limits on short-term rentals. Maintaining local control over this issue is vital to our communities, and a one size fits all, statewide approaching to managing short-term rentals is not the solution.

The Ashwaubenon Village Board is taking swift action. Next Tuesday, September 19th at 5:00 pm at Village Hall, the Village Board will consider a resolution requesting the Governor to veto the portion of the budget that deals specifically with the limits on local authority to regulate short term rentals for seven or more days. Residents are encouraged to also act quickly by contacting the governor’s office since the Wisconsin Assembly began debate on the final budget bill on Wednesday. The budget will likely be debated by the Senate next week. If approved by both bodies, it will go to the Governor’s office, which is anticipated to quickly act on the budget since it is already two months past due.


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