Homeowners in South Haven express frustration over rentals

Posted at 12:53 AM, Apr 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-19 02:16:25-04

SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. - The South Haven city council held a meeting Monday night to hear from the public about a proposed short term rental ordinance.

One of the big concerns is zoning.  Several residents are concerned about homes being built in single family residential zones that are not being used as family homes, but solely as rental properties.  "I'm against homes like the one being built next to me. That is not a single family home.  And it's built in a single family residential zone. It's advertised for up to 20."  Said Susan Woodhall, a South Haven resident.

Residents showed up to express their feelings on short term rental ordinance. It would limit the occupancy number in residential zones to 16, and would cap rental times to 30 days or less.

Some people at the meeting want the cap to be at 10 people, and prevent existing rentals from dodging new rules under a grandfather clause.

A common concern from those speaking up at the meeting was they don't want South Haven to end up like other vacation destination cities on the east coast that have become ghost towns in the off season.

The former mayor of South Haven knows times are changing.  "Things have changed a lot here in the rental business. The problem has just grown. We're hoping to have a new ordinance out into place to control the growth so that we can remain a year round community," said Dorothy Appleyard, former mayor of South Haven.

The South Haven city council voted to send the ordinance back to the planning commission. The planning commission will review the city council's recommendations next month before sending it back to the city council for final approval.