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Hobart looks at short-term rental ordinance

By Ben Rodgers

HOBART – The Hobart village board is mulling an ordinance that would regulate short-term rentals in the village.

At the Tuesday, Nov. 20, meeting Village Administrator Aaron Kramer outlined a proposed draft ordinance that will be up for a public hearing at the Dec. 18 village board meeting.

“I’m fully cognizant of the fact that some of our residents do not want any of these short-term rentals within our boundaries, period, end of story,” Kramer said. “We cannot do that, it’s against the law.”

He was referring to an 11th-hour motion added last year to the 2017-19 state budget, which allowed short-term rentals throughout Wisconsin.

“We’re being as governing as possible within the confines of state statutes,” said Village President Rich Heidel. “We cannot be more restrictive than the state statues are, but we are taking advantage of whatever leeway we have.”

Per the ordinance, a short-term rental is defined as a residential dwelling that is offered for rent, for a fee and for fewer than 29 consecutive days, as defined by state statute.

Kramer walked the board through the eight-page ordinance and highlighted the following aspects:

• No person can maintain or manage a short-term rental for more than 10 days without a license, which must be held by the property owner or a designated property manager.

• They must possess a state of Wisconsin Tourist Rooming House license, a seller’s permit issued by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, and a license the village will issue.

• The total number of days rented may not exceed 180 per year.

• The property owner or manager must notify the village in writing prior to the first rental of the year.

• Vehicular traffic generated more than normal residential neighborhood is not allowed.

• No excessive noise, fumes, glares or vibrations.

• Signage is limited to 1-square-foot.

• Offsite, or online advertising, is not allowed until all the permits are obtained.

• A building and fire inspection must be completed every year.

• Local property management must be on file with the village, be located within 25 miles of the village, and be available 24 hours a day.

• Any outdoor events are limited to one day and must be held between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. and follow the noise ordinance.

• All permits must be renewed on an annual basis.

Kramer said this proposed ordinance is based off of a similar one in Ashwaubenon.

Village staff also had Todd Gerbers, director of planning and code compliance, help draft the ordinance.

Gerbers was previously employed by Ashwaubenon and helped write that village’s original ordinance.

“We have had some inside knowledge on how to write this,” Kramer said. “We didn’t copy it word for word, because some things are not applicable or our cup of tea.”

He also noted the proposed fees with Hobart’s ordinance are about half of other municipalities.

The proposed fees include $200 for the initial and renewal of the short-term rental application, $150 for each additional unit added under a license, $100 for reinspections and $100 for the property manager license.

“This is not a punitive ordinance,” he said. “We’re not going to be knocking on doors to check if someone is running a short-term rental. This is a voluntary compliance.”

However, if the ordinance passes and the village becomes aware of a unlicensed short-term rental, the owner will be notified that they are not in compliance and will then have the option of going through the process, or not renting out the property.

The entire ordinance can be found on the village’s website.

In other news, the village board approved the 2019 operating budget, tax levy, refuse and recycling special charges and storm water utility special charges.

The 2019 property tax rate of $4.14 per $1,000 of assessed value will stay the same as the 2018 rate.

Refuse and recycling charges had a slight increase of around $3, and the storm water management utility rates will remain the same at $70, as 2018.

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