The ordinance was created by Take Back Marco, a political action committee. It aims to enforce regulations regarding those who rent their homes less than 30 days per year. The council passed it in a 4-3 vote with Darrin Palumbo, Jared Grifoni, and Becky Irwin voting against it. In August, 57% voted in favor of the referendum.
Council voted in October to approve the first reading of the rental registration. The ordinance was read again by the council Wednesday. This led to hours of debate among members of the council about any last-minute changes.
Irwin raised multiple concerns about the ordinance, including the requirement that the city keeps a record of all guests who are currently staying in a short-term rental.
Grifoni agreed. Grifoni stated, “We’re limited-government conservatives up there, and that’s why we’re putting into an ordinance that we want our citizens to keep a list.” Grifoni said that hotels don’t keep a list of each guest who visits their property. We’re going to make our citizens do it. Talk about hypocrisy.
The ordinance’s required guest list was removed by the council.
Grifoni also discussed a ballot question that stated the ordinance would be completely self-funded and not rely on taxpayer money. The city might need to tap the general fund for funding to launch the program. The registration software will cost $90,000. Each year, the city must also fund it.
Grifoni stated that there is nothing in the ordinance that prohibits the use of dollars that aren’t collected directly from landlords or property owners. Grifoni said, “And I believe the citizens deserve that that is honored and made clear.” If everyone thinks this will magically fund itself within six months, then it shouldn’t matter if that protection is [in the ordinance].
Council approved an amendment to prohibit state taxpayer funds from being used for enforcement of the rental registration.
The ordinance also includes noise standards. Short-term rentals have more stringent rules than regular single-family homes. Short-term rentals must not be disturbed by adjacent or nonadjacent properties for more than 60 seconds, including animals, humans, and electronic sounds.
Rich Blonna, a Council member, believes it is a reasonable measure to take. There are many standards. This is not a private home where visitors may occasionally visit. He said that a place could be able to turnover 52 times per year with 52 sets of residents. “I believe we should be more sensitive about noise in that situation, so I would rather leave it as is.”
Council was unable to agree on a noise standard for a family home that is full-time, but they agreed to remove the mechanical noise portion of the ordinance in the event of an alarm.
Irwin stated that he believes that the whole thing should be beneficial to the owners and the neighbors. He also said that he doesn’t like seeing it as a way to hurt people rather than help. “I believe that’s why we have such an argument about it in the community. It really feels like it’s a punishment rather than a help to some people.”