LAKE BLUFF — A two-year trial program allowing short-term rental of residential real estate with significant restrictions is about to become law in Lake Bluff.
Village President Kathy O’Hara’s yes vote broke a 3-3 tie among the Village Board of Trustees April 9 at Village Hall, resulting in a 4-3 approval for an issue that has divided the community for more than a year.
The board’s action was the first reading of the ordinance. A final vote on the second reading will be held at 7 p.m. April 23 at Village Hall. Village Administrator Drew Irvin said O’Hara and the trustees can change their vote at that time.
Joining O’Hara were Trustees Mark Dewart, Eric Grenier and Paul Lemieux while Trustees Barbara Ankenmann, William Meyer and Aaron Towle voted against the ordinance.
The vote disregarded a March 19 negative recommendation from the Plan Commission & Zoning Board of Appeals. That vote was 4-3 the other way.
Under the provisions of the new ordinance, the owner of a home with five or fewer guest rooms may rent it out for a maximum of two days but less than 30. Some of the restrictions on STRs include:
- The property must be the owner’s primary residence
- The person must reside there for 275 days but not during the rental period
- STRs are limited to 45 rental days or 15 stays, whichever occurs first
- STRs must be registered with the village
- The annual registration fee is $250
- Short-term rentals will be taxed in accordance with the village’s home rule hotel tax
If the board takes no affirmative action to make the ordinance permanent, it will expire in two years.
Before the trustees voted on the ordinance, 18 members of the public in a crowd of more than 60 spoke. Of those, 13 expressed their opposition while five said they wanted to see the program initiated. Those opposed said the practice will lower property values and alter the character of the community. Those who want to see short-term rentals said it can provide places for family guests to stay when they visit.
After several meetings of both the PCZBA and the board, including a lengthy Committee of the Whole meeting on January 27, O’Hara said there was a paucity of facts showing either why short-term rentals should be allowed or the practice should be banned.
Before the issue became a community discussion about a year ago, O’Hara said there were short-term rentals in the village and no problems were reported. Then community feelings boiled over on both sides, the village put a temporary halt to the practice and Lake Bluff officials began to deliberate next steps.
“There are really no facts to substantiate the claims of either side,” said O’Hara. “This began as a quarrel between two neighbors who shared a driveway. I look to our neighbor to the south where Lake Forest has short-term rental without any regulation.”
Meyer said one of the reasons he voted against the ordinance is because he was concerned about property values. He said when residents believe the value of their homes will drop if located near a short-term rental he has no reason to doubt them.
Grenier said he studied what may happen to property values as best as he could. He said he talked to real estate professionals who told him living near a short-term rental should not adversely impact value. He also expressed hope it will help local merchants. He said there are ordinances to prevent abuses.
“We have exact laws to address public nuisances,” Grenier said.
A popular theme from opponents of the ordinance was asking the trustees to set a referendum of the voters to gauge public opinion. O’Hara rejected the idea because she felt it would be an abrogation of the responsibility entrusted to her and the trustees by the voters.
Lemieux also opposed the idea of a referendum but had a suggestion to those who want one. He said they can circulate petitions to place it on the ballot. He said a little more than 200 signatures is sufficient. Julie Atsbury Capps, one of the members of the public who spoke, said more 300 people signed a petition asking the board to ban short-term rentals.
Here is the ordinance from the Village Board Packet. Click here to read the complete text on pages 59-66 of the packet.
For a period of two years … short-term rentals are permitted pursuant to section 10-13-3 of this code subject to the following restrictions:
(A) The short-term rental property must be the property owner’s primary residence.
(B) The property owner must reside at the property at least 275 days each calendar year.
(C) Accessory or secondary dwelling units may not be used as short-term rentals.
1. All overnight parking must be accomplished on site and on improved surfaces.
2. Properties with adjacent driveways may not be used as short-term rentals if the on-site parking required by subsection (D)(1) of this Section results in restricted or reduced parking access to the neighboring property.
(E) No short-term rental shall serve more than 10 guests per night.
(F) No short-term rental shall be rented for less than two consecutive nights.
(G) No short-term rental shall be rented for more than 45 days or more than 15 individual booking periods in any calendar year, whichever limit is reached first.
(H) All short-term rentals must have an alarm system monitored by a UL certified central station.
(I) All short-term rentals must comply with the following life safety requirements:
1. Manual extinguishing equipment must be provided on each floor and in the kitchen used by short-term rental guests in accordance with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 10 – Standards for the Installation of Portable Fire Extinguishers.
2. No combustible storage is permitted in or under stairways.
3. No cooking facilities are permitted in guest rooms.
4. All hallways and stairways must be adequately lighted.
5. Portable heating devices are prohibited in guest rooms.
6. A floor plan of the property to be used for short-term rental must be submitted to the village.
7. Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors must be provided in each guest room.
8. All bedrooms used for short-term rental must contain an egress window that complies with 2015 International Residential Code Section R310. Specifically, the bedroom egress window must have a net clear opening of not less than 5.7 square feet obtained by the normal operation of the window from the inside; provided however, an
egress window at or below grade must have a net clear opening of not less than five square feet. The egress window opening shall be at least 24 inches high and at least 20 inches wide. The egress window must have a sill height of not more than 44 inches. Egress windows at or below grade must be provided with a window well with a horizontal area of not less than nine square feet and with a horizontal projection and width of not less than 36 inches. Notwithstanding the forgoing, bedrooms constructed prior to October 26, 2010 may continue to use existing windows that use
removable sashes to meet the minimum egress window opening requirements.
9. All stair systems with four or more risers must have handrails.
10. GFCI outlets must be installed as required by the building code.
1. Registration Required: Every property owner desiring to use their property as a short-term rental must register the
property annually upon a form provided by the village and filed with the village administrator.
2. Contents of Registration Form: The registrant must truthfully provide the information requested on the
registration form, including, without limitation, the following:
a. The property address and name of the property owner;
b. An affirmation that the owner resides at the property at least 275 days per year;
c. An affirmation that the owner has read and understands the restrictions contained in this section 10-4-5;
d. Proof that the property owner has an insurance policy that covers the short-term rental use of the property in the amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence and a minimum of $2,000,000 aggregate. This requirement cannot be satisfied by insurance coverage provided by a short-term rental platform, including without limitation, Airbnb and Homeaway;
e. If the property owner will not reside at the property during any of the short-term rental booking periods, the name and contact information for a local contact person who will be available at all times during such booking periods to immediately address non-emergency issues;
f. An affirmation that copies or summaries of the applicable noise, solid waste and recycling, parking, and short-term rental regulations are tendered to each short-term rental guest; and
g. A copy of the log required by subsection K of this section for the preceding year.
3. Annual Registration Fee: The fee for short-term rental registration shall be paid to the village at the time the annual registration form is filed, and the registration fees for each short-term rental shall be set out in section 1-12-3 of this code, under category “license fees”. The registration fee will not be prorated.
4. Life Safety Inspection Required: No short-term rental registration will be approved until a life safety inspection of the property is conducted by the village.
5. A list of all registered short-term rentals will be posted on the village’s website and maintained at village hall.
(K) Owners must keep a log of the dates and the number of guests for each short-term rental booking period.
(L) Advertising and Signage:
1. On-site and off-site signage advertising or otherwise promoting a short-term rental is prohibited.
2. All online advertisements regarding short-term rentals, including listings on platforms including, without imitation, Airbnb and HomeAway, shall:
(a) list a valid short-term rental registration number issued by the village; and
(b) only advertise a short-term rental that complies with all of the short-term rental regulations and restrictions set forth in this section 10-4-5.
The village’s home rule hotel tax must be collected on gross short-term rental receipts and remitted to the village in accordance with Chapter 8H of Title 1 of this code.
(N) Penalty: Any person who violates any of the provisions of this section 10-4-5 shall be fined not more than five-thousand dollars ($5,000.00) for each offense. Each day that a violation is permitted to exist shall constitute a separate offense. The restrictions contained in this section 10-4-5 shall be interpreted as minimum standards, and shall be in addition to any other applicable village ordinances and requirements that apply to short-term rentals or the properties on which they are located.”