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City eyes new vacation rental control scheme

vacation-rentals

Evanston's law department plans to ask aldermen tonight for a new approach to regulating vacation rentals — this time trying to regulate them in a similar fashion to bed and breakfast establishments.

Evanston's law department plans to ask aldermen tonight for a new approach to regulating vacation rentals — this time trying to regulate them in a similar fashion to bed and breakfast establishments.

The City Council was hopelessly divided earlier this month when faced with two alternative proposals from staff — one to ban vacation rentals completely, the other to license them.

The latest idea would be to some extent split the difference between the previous two proposals.

It would be considerably more restrictive than a license — imposing an approval process that typically takes at least three months and giving aldermen the discretion to bar a particular property from vacation rental use for essentially any reason they chose.

But it would at least make it possible to win approval for vacation rentals in residential zones as well as B1, T1 and T2 zones.

Reflecting the split on the issue so far, the legal staff is just asking aldermen tonight to strike the two previous proposals from the agenda and approve the concept of developing an ordinance that would implement the special use approach — and leave the actual drafting of such an ordinance for later.

The vacation rental concept has proved difficult for the City Council to deal with, ever since neighbors of one property on Ashland Avenue near Ryan Field started complaining about it last fall.

Other residents have reported operating such facilities without incident and some residents have suggested that regulating the rentals is an unnecessary infringement on the bundle of rights they acquired when they purchased their home.

Vacation rental supporters also argue that the concept — spurred by the emergence of online vacation rental listing services — represents a significant source of new economic activity for the community.

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