Next summer, Marine on St. Croix residents may be able to rent their homes out on Airbnb.

In response to growing interest in short term rental (STR) options locally and nationally, the city’s planning commission is exploring an ordinance for Marine on St. Croix.

City Clerk Lynette Peterson said the city wanted to be proactive as STRs have become a hot topic in most cities.

“The plan was to get a handle on it before it became an issue,” she said.

Peterson said the city council directed the planning commission to research and develop a city ordinance for STRs.

A STR is a dwelling or portion of a dwelling unit that is rented for less than 30 days where the owner primarily uses the dwelling for their own use and enjoyment. STRs do not include dedicated vacation units.

The city is exploring two types of STRs, according to planning commission minutes: hosted and non-hosted. In hosted STRs, part of the unit is rented and the owner is present during the rental period, while the owner is not present for a non-hosted STR.

As part of the research process, the city mailed 350 residents a survey seeking public opinion on STRs in Marine on St. Croix.

According to survey results presented at the July 30 planning commission meeting, 62% of respondents said there is a need for STRs in the community and 86% said they should be regulated. Additionally, 76% of respondents said STRs should require a license.

When asked how Marine on St. Croix residents thought STRs could support community values, 35% said they support local businesses; 25% said they allow visitors to enjoy and possibly move to Marine; and 24% said they allow for extended family or previous residents to visit.

On the other hand, 23% of respondents said their top concern for how STRs could threaten community values pertained to guests violating city ordinances.

Notably, 16% of respondents said they’ve considered renting out their home as a STR. There are currently five STRs in Marine on St. Croix, according to the survey.

“I definitely think the community has an interest in it,” Peterson said. “We are kind of a tourist town.”

Peterson said the city is still gathering opinions from residents about STRs. The planning commission is also drafting an ordinance the city council will consider sometime in the coming months.

Contact Kim Schneider at kim.schneider@ecm-inc.com

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