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All short-term rental permits for Marquette now in use

The rooftops of houses on Arch Street in the city of Marquette are pictured this morning. (Journal photo by Corey Kelly)

MARQUETTE — If you’re looking to start renting out your Marquette home on a short-term or nightly basis, it’s likely going to be a bit of a wait before VRBO and Airbnb customers can start staying in your home.

The city of Marquette has reached its 250-permit limit for short-term rentals provided for in its ordinance, and there are currently no plans to allow more, city officials said.

“At this time we are not recommending that we increase this number,” Marquette City Manager Mike Angeli said in an email. “There are several reasons for not recommending an increase, but the main reason is that we would like to get a better understanding on how well we can manage the 250.”

With the 2010 Census data included in the Marquette Community Master Plan reporting about 4,300 rental housing units — which made up a little more than half of the roughly 8,300 housing units in the city at that time — the 250 permits in use would be about 6% of the total rental housing and about 3% of all housing units in the city as of 2010.

With the permit limit being reached, there could be an impact on real estate in the city, said Patricia Olson, a realtor at Select Realty and an owner of two vacation rental properties in Marquette.

“Available permits benefited sellers as their home could be marketed as either a single-family home or as a vacation rental property. This flexibility also had a positive impact on purchase price,” Olson said in an email. “Now that we can no longer promote a home as such, we may see the days on market increase and sellers may experience a negative impact on purchase prices. If you are strongly opposed to vacation rentals and do not currently have one in your neighborhood, you will likely be happy to hear that the cap has been reached.”

Angeli said the city is working on how to manage incoming permit applications.

“We do plan on creating a fair ‘waiting list system,’ but just haven’t figured all that out yet,” he said.

Olson does have another recommendation for how the city can approach the matter of the permit limit being reached: “I would encourage the city to consider allowing the transfer of the permit (with proper inspection) when a vacation rental home is sold, as I think it makes the home more valuable and that helps the overall value of every home in the neighborhood and also benefits the city in the form of increased tax revenue,” she said.

In the meantime, the limit increase isn’t being recommended for a number of reasons, Angeli said. One is that each short-term rental permit “requires a significant amount of staff time to process, which includes, but is not limited to, zoning compliance as well as safety inspections,” he said.

“Additionally, each facility must be reinspected on a regular schedule, which adds to the several other regular inspections that we already do (like long-term rentals and other business safety inspections),” he said. “We have had to make some staff adjustments to make all of this work, but are still working on the most efficient means.”

The Marquette City Commission amended ordinances in May and August 2017 to provide for short-term rentals in the city, with further amendments made in May 2018.

Under the ordinances, property owners must receive approval of a short-rental registration application and there are proximity limits for short-term rentals, as well as requirements for parking, zoning, fire inspections and more.

Any owner of a rental dwelling unit who fails to register or who fails to obtain a certificate of compliance for each rental dwelling unit shall be responsible for a municipal civil infraction, according to city officials.

For more information on short-term rentals in the city, visit marquettemi.gov.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. Her email address is cbrown@miningjournal.net.

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