Tipp Co Zoning Regs Catch Up With Sharing Economy

Feb 14, 2017

Credit Carissa Rogers / https://www.flickr.com/photos/goodncrazy/5531939741

The Tippecanoe County Area Plan Commission is slated to vote Wednesday on a significantly scaled-back proposal to regulate short-term home rentals, such as those offered on websites including Airbnb.

The original proposal would have restricted the number of days a property could be rented, regardless of whether the owner lives in the residence.

The Commission tabled that plan after a dozen property owners who both live in, and lease space in their homes, complained the new rule was too restrictive.

The revised proposal to be voted on Wednesday only affects single-family homes that are not owner-occupied. It restricts those short-term rentals to thirty days per year.

West Lafayette city councilman Larry Leverenz is a member of the APC Ordinance Committee that’s been working on the change to the county’s Unified Zoning Ordinance.

He says the committee and planning staff decided to focus on the problem first brought to them – Lafayette’s Chatham Square neighborhood where investors purchased three homes in which they never intended to live.

“We acted to try to take care of that situation without destroying the whole system,” Leverenz says.

Leverenz says planners may come back later with more feasible rules for owner-occupied short-term rentals.

Area Plan Commission Executive Director Sallie Fahey says the county zoning ordinance was adopted long before the online sharing economy existed.

“Our cities change, our technologies change, and we need to keep up with those changes,” Fahey says. “But we need to make sure, in my business, that citizens are also protected.”

The APC will consider the zoning change at its regular meeting 6 p.m. Wednesday in the county office building at 20 N. Third St. in downtown Lafayette.

If the Commission recommends approval of the change, the amendment will be sent to city, town and county leaders for final adoption.

However, West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis has said his city doesn’t need the new regulation because it already has a rental housing inspection program in place.

State lawmakers and a handful of Indiana cities and towns have discussed similar restrictions on short-term rentals. But there’s no consensus, yet, on how best to regulate so-called transient rentals.

Tags: