Aldermen to try again on vacation rentals

Evanston aldermen tonight will get to try again to decide whether they want to ban or regulate vacation rentals — or just leave them alone.

The city's legal department has prepared two different ordinances on the subject for the City Council's consideration.

They both define a vacation rental as a dwelling unit or portion thereof offered for rent for less than 30 days. But they exclude from that definition hotels and motels, lodging establishments, bed and breakfasts and home-sharing agreements.

And the ordinances exempt short-term rentals in connection with a contract to sell the property, units in two-and-three-unit buildings where one of the units is owner-occupied, rentals by professors on sabbatical and home-swapping agreements.

One ordinance would ban vacation rentals, the other would require a $50 annual license and impose various operating requirements — including a minimum 24-hour rental period. It also provides for fines for violations and gives the city the option of revoking the license under various circumstances.

The other would ban vacation rentals completely.

The vacation rental debate arose after neighbors of one property on Ashland Avenue near Ryan Field complained about its operation last fall.

Listings on various online vacation rental locator services indicate that several other vacation rental properties have operated in Evanston for some time without drawing any public complaints.

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