Elizabeth Nelson's City Council Blog


I write a City Council newsletter with my summary of agenda items coming before City Council. Sign up to receive it first via email, or read it here later on this blog.

Additional Thoughts (May 1, 2021) - Short Term Rentals

The following was originally published in my May 1, 2021 Newsletter in the "Additional Thoughts" section.


The biggest Ward 4 topic on this week’s agenda is the short-term rental (STR) ordinance amendments.

PH-3/B-3 (21-0537) An Ordinance to Amend Table 5.15-1, Table 5.15-2, Sections 5.33, 5.37.2.P and 5.37.2.S, of Chapter 55 (Unified Development Code) of Title V of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (Short Term Rentals) (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 8 Yeas and 1 Nay) (ORD-21-12)

PH-4/B-4 (21-0539) An Ordinance to Amend Sections 7:651 and 7:654 of Chapter 97 (Short-Term Rentals) of Title VII of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (ORD-21-13)

Last September, Council passed an ordinance prohibiting non-owner occupied (investment) STR businesses in residential neighborhoods. Agenda items B-3 and B-4 will permit all existing non-owner occupied STRs to continue doing business in residential neighborhoods. The proposed amendments define current STR businesses as a “legal nonconforming use” that may carry on continuously and indefinitely for every future owner of the property. The City still does not know exactly how many non-owner occupied STR businesses qualify for this special exception, but this week, staff shared updated information about additional STR businesses that have self-reported since our last discussion. So far, we know of 141 housing units functioning as full-time STR businesses in residential neighborhoods.

I will be voting against these amendments because I believe those housing units serve a higher purpose for the benefit of long-term tenants and year-round residents. I wrote more explanation of my position last month, when these amendments were first proposed: