Looking For Terrific Local Real Estate Deals? We have teamed with our great area Realtors to provide you the most comprehensive, up-to-date and current real estate listings locally and throughout West Michigan with our innovative interactive links in our Local Observer E-edition, West Michigan Observer E-Magazine and Coldwell Banker Home Magazine. Simply visit: www.localobserver.com and click on the Local Observer flipping-page icon or the Coldwell Banker Home Magazine flipping-page icon or the West Michigan Observer flipping-page icon. Then click on any real estate ad or individual home/business/property link in those publications to get all the info you need to find that perfect place! It’s fun, fast and easy! Try it today. You’ll be glad you did! * MILL POND REALTY * BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOMESERVICES * COLDWELL BANKER WOODLAND SCHMIDT * GREENRIDGE REAL ESTATE * CENTURY 21 * SHORELINE REALTORS Presorted Standard U.S. Postage Paid Saugatuck MI Permit No. 30 CURRENT RESIDENT THE LOCAL OBSERVER WE BRING YOU THE NEWS SERVING August 25, 2017 No. 34 FREE SAUGATUCK * DOUGLAS * SAUGATUCK TOWNSHIP * LAKETOWN TOWNSHIP * FENNVILLE * GLENN * GANGES TOWNSHIP * HAMILTON * HOLLAND * SOUTH HAVEN Vol. 15 Proposed State Legislation Could Significantly Impact Short-Term Rental Industry In Michigan Efrain Sandoval Correspondent In what many local munici-pal officials across the state of Michigan characterize as an overreach on the part of the state, the proposed bills regarding short-term rentals before the Michigan House and Senate would, if passed, curb restric-tions on short-term rentals, allowing them in all areas zoned for residential use in a community. Douglas City officials dis-cussed the issue during Monday’s meeting. “This (the similarly worded House Bill 4503 and Senate Bill 329) eliminates local control—our ability to regulate our zoning on matters related to housing (particularly, short-term rentals),” said Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere. “We are a community with a lot of seasonal rental housing and we don’t regulate them, unnecessarily so, as much as other communities,” noted LeFevere. “But, we want people to be safe, whether that is being able to perform fire inspections or enforce zoning codes.” The number of local rental units has dramatically increased and there is a need to maintain local regu-lation, not undermine it, pointed out Douglas City Council Member Pat Lion, who has co-owned the Rosemont Inn, a resort B&B, for many years. “There was about 100 when we started (Rosemont Inn, more than decades ago). Now there are about 500 short-term rentals,” said Lion. She said it was through local zoning the city has “teeth to pro-tect the health and well-being of resi-dent and visitors.” On the flip side of the argu-ment, realtors and other proponents contend that there is an ongoing state-wide effort on the part of local municipalities to intrude on the rights of private property owners and undermine the value of their proper-ty. The bills are being driven by the Michigan Realtors Association, which assisted in writing the bills, introduced this spring. In fact, critics point out that State Rep. Jason Sheppard, (R-Temperance) and Sen. Joe Hune, (R-Gregory) are due-paying members of the association. Less regulation means more problems, especially for residential neighborhoods which are already suf-fering the negative effects of an exces-sive number of short-term rentals, indicates the Michigan Municipal League. The League—which pro-vides varied services to member com-munities, including advocacy and education—has come out strongly against the proposed legislation: “In many places across the state, short-term rentals are taking over once vibrant residential neigh-borhoods and turning them into areas transient in nature that go dark part of the year. This is having a detrimen-tal 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 neighbor-hood schools. “If enacted, this legislation will undo regulations municipalities have put in place to negate these neg-ative impacts and prohibit other com-munities from regulating in the future.” LeFevere said the city could draft and adopt a resolution urging opposition, but he told council the most effective action is to call the community’s state representatives, including State Rep. Mary Whiteford, (R-Casto Township) and State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker, (R-Lawton).