New Legislation Seeks to Eliminate Local Control in Zoning

Posted on May 1, 2017 by Dene Westbrook

Last week legislation was introduced in both the House and Senate to amend the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act. The bills eliminate a local unit of government’s ability to regulate short-term rentals. House Bill 4503 and Senate Bill 329, mirror each other in language, mandating all short-term rentals are a residential use of property and a permitted use in all residential zones. The League disagrees and believes short-term rentals operated as commercial business establishments are inconsistent with residential land use. 

In many places across the state, short-term rentals are taking over once vibrant residential neighborhoods and turning them in to areas transient in nature that go dark part of the year. This is having a detrimental impact on quality of life. An overabundance of short-term rentals can potentially remove affordable homes and housing units off the market leading to decreased enrollment in neighborhood schools. If enacted, this legislation will undo regulations municipalities have put in place to negate these negative impacts and prohibit other communities from regulating in the future. 

We need your help to stop this legislation! The Michigan Realtors Association assisted in writing the bills and are aggressively pushing for quick action. They have been contacting Representatives and Senators in an attempt to say municipalities are overstepping on private property rights, prohibiting property owners from maximizing the value of their property. We know this isn’t accurate, but need you to contact your State Representative and Senator today to urge their opposition for HB 4503 and SB 329! Even if short-term rentals are not an issue in your community, you should be very concerned about the impact of preempting local zoning efforts. If enacted, this legislation would set a dangerous precedent undermining decision-making at the local level. 

Also, please contact the committee chairs where the legislation has been referred urging them to not take up the bills. HB 4503 was referred to the House Committee on Tourism & Outdoor Recreation chaired by Representative Holly Hughes. SB 329 was referred to the Senate Committee on Local Government chaired by Senator Dale Zorn.

Jennifer Rigterink is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at [email protected] or 517-908-0305.

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