The Silver Bay City Council held a public hearing on Monday night over resolutions pertaining to short term vacation rentals. Three property owners were on hand to advocate in favor of STVRs. One of the petitioners stated that short term vacation rentals add to the local economy because people who stay in them spend money in local restaurants and stores. The point was also made that the lots upon which STVRs could be located are expensive and will likely not be sold for starter homes. One owner mentioned the need to rent his property when he is not residing there as a way to offset the high property taxes he pays. None of the parties advocating for STVRs at Monday night’s meeting are full time residents of Silver Bay.
The availability of STVRs undoubtedly draws visitors to the Silver Bay area but there is concern among council members and among area residents about whether or not the benefits of STVRs outweigh possible drawbacks of such properties. There are currently no single family homes available for purchase in Silver Bay and the fact that STVRs attract visitors does not address the need for affordable housing. Secondly, properties that can accommodate STVRs add to the area’s tax base but increasing the tax base in this manner can drive first time home buyers out of the market. There is also the concern about excessive noise, after hours partying, increased traffic and parking and possible vandalism and trash accumulation that have been associated with STVRs across the country.
City Attorney Timothy Costly advised the council to look further at the city’s zoning and code documents to make sure the language is consistent with regard to land use issues. The City Council is looking at a possible quota of six STVRs, will continue to study the issue and will vote on a resolution in a future meeting.
The Lakeview Drive project is moving ahead. A representative from Bolton & Menk was on hand at Monday’s meeting and informed the council that the DNR has given approval on the project. The Council has also approved the plan. There is still a question about funding from the State which is expected to be resolved in the next few weeks. Construction will likely start in August.
The Council authorized the application for a grant from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for the purchase of safety equipment for the Sewer Department. Additionally, CPR and Competent Person Training will be available to city staff. This training will help ensure that there are individuals who can provide emergency care, if needed, at city construction sites.
The Council approved a proposal from IRN for the installation of a wi-fi and security camera system at the arena and students from William Kelley School have written letters to the City Council encouraging city officials to place more trash barrels in and around public spaces. It is encouraging to see young people engage civically with their community.
The next City Council meeting is scheduled for June 5th at 7:00 p.m.