Has the commission gone too far? Time will tell…
Bozeman commission plans to ban new full-time vacation rentals in all residential zones
By Eric Dietrich Chronicle Staff Writer Jun 23, 2017 17
City commissioners forged ahead Thursday evening with an effort to regulate Airbnb-style short-term rentals in Bozeman, endorsing language that would forbid new vacation rentals in homes in residential zones where owners don’t live at least half-time. Other types of short-term rentals, where homeowners rent out rooms or rent out their whole residence while temporarily absent, would be allowed, though owners would need to be present for rentals under R-1 and R-S zoning, the city’s designations for its lowest-density neighborhoods.
The city also plans to provide a grace period for existing rental operations to come into the fold, providing even those who don’t meet location requirements a chance to apply for a permit.
Speaking Thursday, commissioners described their plan, which isn’t yet finalized, as a way to strike a balance between property owners who appreciate the flexibility provided by Airbnb-style rentals with concerns that proliferating rentals could hollow out neighborhoods, particularly in the city core.
While many visitors to Bozeman clearly appreciate the experience they get staying in a dedicated vacation rental in a nice neighborhood instead of a traditional hotel, said Deputy Mayor Cyndy Andrus, she worries about what the neighborhood loses.
“What the neighbors might see is a house that’s never occupied by anybody that they know,” she said.
“To just buy a house and never live there,” she said, “is not something I want to support.”
“We can loosen this up later if it makes sense,” said Mayor Carson Taylor. Commissioners will consider a formal ordinance encoding their plan at a public hearing later this summer, potentially as soon as mid-July.