City extends ban on new vacation rentals

By CHELSEA ANDERSON/Montana State News

The Bozeman City Commission voted last month to extend the interim zoning ordinance regarding “extended stay lodgings” for an additional six months.

The ordinance was passed last August because of residents’ complaints about noise and traffic in neighborhoods where there were a large number of property owners renting out their homes for Airbnb and VRBO purposes.

The City Commission placed the ordinance for six months to give staff time to investigate, solicit public comment, identify best practices and provide the commission with options to solve the issue.

Assistant City Manager Chuck Winn came before the commission to propose the six-month extension of the ordinance. He claimed the extra time was necessary to “determine the policy questions and to put forth a more coherent picture of the issues.” This would provide the commission with enough information to make permanent policy changes in regards to the “extended stay lodgings” in the affected zones.

Several locals spoke up at the meeting against the extension. Elena Garcia, a local who works with homeowners who rent out their homes for VRBO or Airbnb said, “these rentable homes truly enhance the Bozeman Community and fill a niche that represents Bozeman.”

While the extended stay lodgings provide a serious revenue stream for the city, other locals urged the commission to extend the ordinance. Local homeowner Jim Goetz, who lives in one of the zones affected by the ordinance, said, “commercializing these historical neighborhoods will ruin them.”

Commissioner I-Ho Pomeroy, the lone dissenting vote, was in favor of giving a three-month extension to the ordinance but was against the full six months.

Mayor Carson Taylor, who voted in favor of the extension, voted so on the grounds that the better preparedness that the extension would provide would better allow him to “make the best consideration for the community.”

In addition to this vote, the commission approved:

  • Appointments to the Impact Fee Advisory Committee including the nominations of Rob Evans (Biller Category), Chris Padeski (Land Development Category), and George Thompson (Citizens of Bozeman Category).
  • Appointments to the City Planning Board including the nominations of the following to fill the three vacancies on the board: Paul Neubauer, George Thompson, and Jordan Zinyago.

– edited by Sarah Snebold

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