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City Opposes House Bill 4722

by Colleen Paveglio
Thursday, December 9, 2021

House Bill 4722 Opposition

The City’s opposition relates to municipal zoning regulation and affordable housing

Michigan lawmakers are considering legislation that would create a one-size-fits all law regulating short-term vacation rentals like Airbnb and VRBO. House Bill 4722 would restrict how Michigan communities regulate short-term rental properties by allowing 30% of homes in a community to be used as a permanent vacation rental. In other words, allowing for a conversion of 1 in 3 homes within the City of Traverse City. In 2021, the City has issued a total of 252 Vacation Home Rental and Tourist Home Rental Licenses, resulting in less than 4% of the housing stock within the City.  House Bill 4722, would allow nearly 2040 of the approximately 6,800 dwellings within the City be permanently short-term rented. In direct relation to housing needs, the City has expressed opposition to the Bill due to the local control on zoning regulations being lifted.

The City of Traverse City has developed zoning regulations that allow for short-term rentals, the Vacation Home Rental program and the Tourist Home Rental program. Vacation Home Rental licenses are issued in districts that are not zoned residential. The Tourist Home Rental licenses are issued in residential zoned districts and require the homeowner be present when renting a room.

"The City has carefully crafted zoning regulations in an effort to create a balance with short-term rentals through their Vacation Home Rental and Tourist Home Rental ordinances. As the City is strategically focused on zoning amendments to remove barriers to affordable housing opportunities, I have no doubts that HB 4722 will have a negative impact and drive housing affordability and availability to be unattainable by residents wanting to live here year round," says City Planner Shawn Winter. 

Mayor Richard Lewis states, "Because Traverse City is unique in character and has long been a destination to millions of visitors annually, HB 4722 would have a negative impact on our community. Losing the ability to regulate zoning will impact the character of neighborhoods and further contribute to unaffordable housing for individuals and families who wish to live within the City of Traverse City. Furthermore, fewer families living within the City will impact our public schools and could have long term negative impacts on our public school system. Therefore, it is critical that control on zoning as it relates to short-term rentals is kept with each municipality.” 

House Bill 4722 was approved by the State House on Oct. 27. The State Senate is expected to take up the bill soon. Concerned citizens are encouraged to contact Senator Wayne Schmidt to voice their opinion.