The Cook County Commissioners unanimously approved the amendments to the three-year-old Vacation Rental Ordinance, as proposed by the Vacation Rental Committee at its November 22 meeting. The amended ordinance will take effect on January 1, 2023.
What are these vacation rental ordinances?
Cook County officials believe that by increasing the permit fees to rent a vacation home in areas like Lutsen and Tofte as well as tightening oversight of the units, Cook County will have a better understanding of the role of short-term rentals in the community as it moves into 2023.
A number of updates and changes to the Cook County vacation rentals ordinance were approved by the local board. Most of these were months in the making.
The annual permit fee for operating a vacation rental in Cook County will rise from $200 to $400. The commissioners indicated that they support the increase, but a public hearing on the matter will be held Dec. 13.
The ordinance also needs to be updated as suggested by the local vacation rental committee, and the planning commission. These include stricter enforcement of county rules and permits applicable to vacation rentals. To do this, the county may create a new position in the land services department to provide oversight. This position could be funded largely by raising the annual fees that participants pay to run a vacation rental in Cook County.
The ordinance was modified to include a trigger mechanism that could limit the number and types of vacation rentals in Cook County at any one time. Although there is not a strict cap or moratorium, the vacation rental committee recognized that a trigger mechanism could be an effective tool to limit the number vacation rentals to 393 units in Cook County.
A ‘trigger’ is essentially the idea that the county will take appropriate action if the 393 figure in Cook County’s vacation rental licenses is exceeded. He suggested that such action could include setting a limit on the number vacation rentals permitted in the county or other policies and recommendations similar to those mentioned.
The county has taken steps to improve the vacation rental ordinance. However, there are still many things to do. The county must still determine what units are considered vacation rentals in Cook County. When it comes to classifying rental units owned by individuals that are located within resorts, there is confusion or at most uncertainty. Local officials say that these units now fall under the control of Lutsen Resort after the Lutsen Poplar River Condos left the area. Cascade Vacation Rentals now manages the Lutsen Poplar River Condos. Similar situations involving privately-owned rental units fall under the umbrella of Cascade Vacation Rentals.
Much of the discussion about vacation rentals in Cook County revolves around a lack