Vernon introduces new short-term rental ordinance

Vernon. The Vernon Township Council has scheduled a public hearing and a second reading on its attempt to regulate short-term residences within the township for the Jan. 27 meeting, as William Ruffing, a Highland Lakes resident, brought security concerns before the council.

21 Jan 2020 | 12:16

The Vernon Township Council will hold a public hearing on Monday, Jan. 27, and a second reading on the township’s attempt to regulate short-term rentals.

The ordinance was introduced on Jan. 13 by a 4-1 vote. Councilwoman Jean Murphy voted against it.

It was previously tabled on Dec. 9, 2019, when then-Councilwoman Sandra Ooms questioned why the short-term rentals were required to be the owner’s primary residence.

The township currently has no regulation on the books.

The new version of the ordinance removes the stipulation that all short-term rentals must be the owner’s primary residence.

The new ordinance allows short-term residences in condominium units, except where Association bylaws don’t allow it, single-family residences, one unit within a two-family dwelling, where the other is occupied by the owner and identified as the owner’s principal residence, and in no more than one unit in any multi-family dwelling where one of the units is the occupied the owner and is the primary residence.

Murphy questioned why the ordinance asked for identification by the owner confirming the short-term rental is his primary residence.

William Ruffing of Highland Lakes said he lives next door to an unregulated short-term rental. he said the owner lives in Maryland and the management company is based in Colorado.

“The groups they rent to are vacationers,” he said. “I have a new group of people that comes in every two days. They have a vacation mindset and are next to my family year-round.”

He said he has security questions, there is no vetting of the renters, just a credit card number and no information on other guests. He said there have been bachelor parties, bachelorette parties, and even a wedding in the home next door.

“What about other guests,” Ruffing said. “I have daughters. I have granddaughters. I am sure many of you would be uncomfortable with 10 or more men renting a house next to your home.”