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Bozeman commissioners may extend temporary vacation rental limits

The commissioners will most likely extend the temporary ban on conditional use permits allowing for vacation rentals in R-1, and R-2 zoning areas while they continue to study the public input and impact of short term rentals in Bozeman. What are your thoughts on this issue? Did you fill out the online survey or attend any meetings?

Bozeman commissioners may extend temporary vacation rental limits
By Eric Dietrich Chronicle Staff Writer

It’s been six months since Bozeman commissioners, responding to residents concerned about neighborhood homes being converted to vacation rentals, approved a temporary ordinance aimed at limiting new short-term rental permits while the city pondered further action.

But, with new Planning Director Marty Matsen brought on board in the interim, the city hasn’t yet figured out what a long-term set of regulations could look like. As a result, its commission will vote Monday on extending the temporary measure for another six months.

So far, Assistant City Manager Chuck Winn writes in a briefing memo, city staff have looked at vacation rental regulations in communities they consider comparable to Bozeman in terms of size, character and being a vacation destination, including Missoula; Whitefish; Vail, Colorado; Hood River, Oregon; and Austin, Texas.

They’ve also conducted a survey and held three public meetings seeking input from local residents on this issue, Winn writes.

The current measure, adopted last August, banned new conditional use permits for vacation rental operations in lower-density residential zoning districts, including the R-1 and R-2 designations in place over most of the historic neighborhoods south of downtown Bozeman.

It was put in place after a number of residents told commissioners they were concerned that having increasing numbers of homes operated as rentals in their neighborhoods could erode community character and create nuisances like traffic and late-night noise.

Technically, short-term rentals inside city limits require a city business permit and, within some neighborhoods, the separate conditional-use permits that are frozen by the interim ordinance. The number of listings on sites like Airbnb and HomeAway, however, indicate that numerous Bozeman homes are rented on a short-term basis while flying under the regulatory radar.

Monday’s commission meeting begins at 6 p.m., in City Hall, 121 North Rouse Ave. If commissioners decide not to extend the temporary measure, it will expire Feb. 8.

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