Dexter Planning Commission considers zoning amendment for short-term rentals

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Dexter’s Planning Commission considered a motion to amend zoning ordinances regarding short-term rentals at its Sept. 8, 2020, meeting.

Mike Auerbach, Assistant Planner for the City of Dexter, explained to the Commission “the amendment that’s being considered is to permit short-term rental activity in the city in a way that would be consistent with the City’s Master Plan.” He also added that “Short-term rentals could help promote tourism and provide a range of housing options in the city while maintaining the city’s existing small town character, which are objectives in the Master Plan.”

The process of amending the City’s zoning ordinance began in November of last year after city staff brought it to the commissioners attention that even though some limited short-term rental activity had occurred in Dexter, the City’s zoning provisions didn’t clearly define how and where short-term rentals could be permitted. A study was conducted through the winter on the sharing economy, Dexter as a destination for travel and recreation, and short-term rental practices in communities similar to Dexter.

The Planning Commission was presented with text amendments to the City of Dexter Zoning Ordinance that would establish

  1. Accessory Short-Term Rental Housing as an accessory land use.
  2. Vacation Rental Housing as a special land use.
  3. Reclassify Bed and Breakfast Inns from a special land use to a principal land use.

The City defines “Accessory Short-Term Rental Housing” as “a dwelling unit or portion thereof, or an accessory apartment, that is occupied by a Permanent Resident and is rented or leased to transient guests for a period of less than thirty (30) consecutive calendar days per rental.” This can be thought of as a resident renting out a room in their home Airbnb style.

“Vacation Rental Housing” is defined as a dwelling unit that is not occupied by a Permanent Resident and is rented or leased to transient guests for a period of less than thirty (30) consecutive calendar days per rental period.” This can be thought of as a dwelling that has no permanent resident and is dedicated to Airbnb-type rentals.

A “Bed and Breakfast Inn” is “a single family dwelling which is owner occupied in which overnight accommodations are provided or offered for transient guests for compensation, often including provisions for a morning meal for overnight guests.”

Under the amendment, all three types of short-term rentals would have to get city approval to operate in Dexter.

The Planning Commission approved the amendment and now passes it on to the Dexter City Council for final approval.