Moratorium on vacation rentals extended

By TYLER BARTON/Montana State News

Six months ago, Bozeman commissioners passed an ordinance aimed at limiting short-term, Airbnb-style rental homes in low-density residential areas. This came as a response to multiple concerns by Bozeman residents about the impact short-term rental houses have on the character of a neighborhood such as traffic and late-night noise.

The ordinance was originally set to expire on Feb. 8, but was extended yesterday by the five-person commission for another six months.

The short-term ordinance puts a halt on issuing the permits that are technically required to operate short-term rentals in some neighborhoods. However, the number of listings on sites such as Airbnb suggests that there are many unlicensed rental homes flying under the radar.

The ordinance has been described as a temporary measure meant to provide the new Planning Director Marty Matsen and the City Commission time to figure out what a permanent solution would look like.

Assistant City Manager Chuck Winn said at the City Commission meeting, “It would help us a lot to have extra time to determine the policy questions for you and put forth a more coherent presentation of the issues.”

Deputy Mayor Cyndy Andrus said, “There needs to be more time given to the staff and the team working on this to bring the best information that they can. If they need more time, I’m willing to give that to them so I can make the best decision for this community.”

In order to determine proper long-term regulations, Assistant City Manager Chuck Winn explained in a briefing memo that city staff have looked to similar situations in communities that are comparable to Bozeman in terms of size, including Whitefish; Missoula; Vail, Colorado; Hood River, Oregon; and Austin, Texas.
– edited by Virginia Holst

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