SAUGATUCK — As Saugatuck continues to look for answers to its short-term rental challenges, conversations at the planning commission level are ongoing.
The planning commission is currently reviewing the recommendations of the city’s STR task force, with the initial intention of making its own recommendation to Saugatuck City Council.
But during a meeting Thursday, Nov. 16, commissioners agreed the best option moving forward was to team up with council and discuss together, though the decision wasn’t without concern.
Commissioner Russ Gardner said the commission acts independently by design, and worried the meeting would set a precedent. Commissioner Holly Anderson, meanwhile, recommended it.
More:Saugatuck short-term rental task force suggests good neighbor guide
“I would strongly recommend that we collaborate with city council to the extent that we can,” she said. “It’s complicated, it’s time consuming, and we have two really time consuming things we’re doing and trying to do them at the same time is challenging.
“Also, I think planning brings a different perspective from council and vise versa, and I think sharing information and perspectives will lead to better understanding and decision making.”
The city has considered STRs for months now, after forming the task force in late March. The group was intended to develop recommendations for reforms to existing ordinances, helping STR owners and locals live together in peace.
On Thursday, the commission was shown a chart with task force recommendations that centered on zoning. Other recommendations include implementing a “good neighbor guide” to set expectations and regulations for those who rent a home in Saugatuck.
Provisions within the guide would address four primary issues the task force identified — including noise, trash disposal, parking considerations and the posting of occupancy limits as established by the Township Fire Authority.
The task force also addressed the possibility of a dedicated code enforcement officer, who would tackle concerns from short-term rentals, and the possible implementation of caps.
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“Whatever we send to council, they’re going to ask all the questions we’re going to be asking, so we’ll be having the same conversation again and that doesn’t seem like a good use (of resources),” Anderson said of the joint meeting.
She added, by working together, both entities would benefit.
The commission meets again Dec. 21. Saugatuck City Council meets Monday, Nov. 27.
— Contact reporter Austin Metz at email@example.com.