Bay Village City Council Discusses Party House & Short Term Rentals

A large party that took place at a Lake Road rental home along the city’s upscale lakefront earlier this month has earned the attention of Bay Village City Council.

City Council discussed the event that brought several law enforcment agencies to the community to intervene.

Council is in the discussion stage on options to managing short-term rentals in the community.

Here are the minutes of the discussion from the Oct. 7 council committe session:

‘The Mayor stated that there was a large party held in Bay Village at a private residence on Lake Road on Saturday, October 5, 2019. The best estimate is that 300 people were present for the party
at some point in time.

‘Mutual aid from surrounding communities did assist with the police efforts to disband the party. There is some confusion as to whether this is a house for rent, and the police will sort through the facts with the daughter of the owner.

‘Law Director Barbour advised that Building Director Tuck-Macalla and he have been talking about the matter of short term rentals for several weeks, based on complaints received about this very
same home from the neighbors. The renters would leave a mess, leave their garbage cans out, or leave garbage out that would draw raccoons. Mr. Barbour and Mr. Tuck-Macalla have been looking at the Bay Village code, and the ordinances of several other cities, e.g. Lyndhurst, North Olmsted, and Rocky River. They have created a draft for consideration by Council. Mr. Clark noted that the matter will be addressed at the Planning, Zoning, Public Buildings and Grounds Committee meeting to be held October 21, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.

‘Mrs. Nancy Stainbrook stated, that for clarification purposes, as the City code now stands, there is nothing allowed less than six months for home rentals. Mr. Barbour stated that short term rentals in Bay Village are not allowed of the type that could be called an Airbnb or Bed and Breakfast on the basis that they are considered home-based businesses. Going forward, it would be a big aid when City Council can reach a decision based on how we should specifically treat short term rentals, limited lodging, or transient housing. At the time we passed our residence rental ordinance,
Codified Ordinance 1365, in 2006, short term rental was not very common. Mrs. Stainbrook addressed Building Director Tuck-Macalla, stating that she thought he was going on line periodically and checking what was being advertised as an Airbnb in Bay Village and following through with a cease and desist notification. Mr. Tuck-Macalla stated that this is correct. Many of those were not operating as they were left over from the Republican National Convention. Mrs. Stainbrook asked what our duty was in these situations.

‘Mr. Barbour stated that what we would do if we were aware of an Airbnb is, first of all, any rental needs to register. Secondly, they would be told that the interpretation of the ordinances is that it
violates the home-based business short term rental, and they should stop. Our track record was good until recently. This particular house has not been responsive to the letters that have been sent.
The owner lives in Chicago and has been absent to deal with. As the city’s lawyer, he would say that in the future to bring a case against somebody because they are violating the rental ordinance, it
would be beneficial to have some other terms and things spelled out in more detail than we currently have to insure success.

‘Mrs. Stainbrook stated that she feels the City got very lucky in this situation that no one was seriously hurt. She asked what we could do now, even if we changed nothing. We could send
letters, and if they don’t respond we could send them to Rocky River Court. Mr. Barbour stated that the court process takes months and months. Mrs. Stainbrook stated that at least we could have been doing our due diligence if something serious would have happened.

Mr. Clark noted that the home-based business ordinance goes back to 1954, hence the reason for more clarity such as other cities have adopted.

‘Mr. Barbour stated that he does not want to get into a lot of detail here, not knowing what kind of legal challenges will be faced over this home. He recommended that changes be made to the
current ordinance. A draft is available to try address deficits in the current ordinance. Mr. Tuck-Macalla noted that these rentals are difficult to enforce, other than sending letters out to
them and trying to monitor them. Mr. Barbour stated that if they rent out the reality is what control they have over the renters. If the property is owner-occupied, it gives them a better stake. You
want to try to restrict where the property is so you have a sense of where in your community you can have these rentals and protect the homeowners. You want them to register so you have the
authority to inspect and enter the premises. If they violate the ordinances you can revoke their license and they can’t rent again, and there are also criminal misdemeanor penalties that are
contained in the ordinance. We have difficulty with the people who rent, because they are transient. They are there and they leave. We need to be able to exercise some influence on the owners who
are doing the renting, and decide the terms under which they can do it which aren’t explicit enough currently.

‘Mr. Tadych asked if the house has to be in good standing with the City, taxes paid properly and things of that nature. Mr. Barbour stated that the draft created today says that it is a requirement to be current in the property taxes, assessments, sewer and trash bills. This would apply to all rentals. Some of these issues have been brought forward by other cities and it is a mixed bag about whether you can successfully go through with some of these things. We want to make sure we try to avoid that circumstance – enacting a law that will be challenged and struck down at some cost to the City.

‘Mr. Tadych asked if there is any way we can avoid this whole situation by saying the short term rentals are not allowed in the City. Mr. Barbour stated that Mr. Tuck-Macalla and he had a
discussion about these things today, based on other cities and the Ohio Revised Code. It would be difficult to successfully exclude short term rentals or transient housing from a community in Ohio. In looking at North Olmsted’s ordinance, they call it transient housing. It is a rental for less than 29 consecutive days. It would fit someone renting a house for a weekend. An owner can only rent their house out under those terms for fourteen total days in a calendar year. Rocky River does not have that kind of restriction. Their restrictions are based on location. Rocky River does not permit an Airbnb in any residential district. Rocky River has different zoning classifications. They have multiple locations that might be thought of as residential areas, but under their code do not precisely fit residential, such as some of the apartment areas. If there is a challenge in another city with a
subsequent ruling, and we try to enforce a similar code there may be difficulty because there has been a court decision.

‘Mr. Barbour stated that Council as a body should decide the appropriate way these rentals should behandled with legislation crafted accordingly. Mr. Barbour has drafted something as a starting pointbased on what the administration would like.Mr. Tadych asked if the income from these businesses would be taxable for the City of Bay Village.Mrs. Mahoney stated that rental income would be taxable as municipal income tax.Mr. Clark noted that the literal interpretation of the law would require the owner paying for a
solicitor’s license because taxable entities must do that. They would have to register with the policestation.

‘Mr. Barbour stated that enforcement is an issue so when you discover something there must be anordinance in place that is clearly violated. There is no room for someone to go into court and say
that a customary home occupation in 2019 is, in fact, an Airbnb. Under Section 1141.04, if that argument is successful, these are no longer home-based businesses. That is why something more is
needed in the residential rental section, Chapter 1365.

‘Mayor Koomar commented that there are people that come into the City for longer term rentals,e.g., pro athletes, coaches and corporate types. They are good citizens and provide income tax
revenue to the City. Clarifying the term of the rental is really the focus and making sure the enforcement, proper payment of taxes and the ability for the Building Department to inspect should
be part of the plan.

‘Mr. Tadych stated that if the City is putting in so much effort on this and we are doing inspections and things, the cost of those things should be covered as expenses to the City. Mr. Barbour noted
that the current rental house fee set by ordinance is $75.00.

‘Mr. Clark stated that once the administration has something they feel is workable, Council willwelcome the chance to review. It certainly will be discussed at the Planning and Zoning Committee
meeting on October 21. The Mayor will have a draft furnished to the City Council and his goalwould be to move with a sense of purpose with Council providing the Planning and Zoning
Committee any feedback before their meeting on October 21. There is still an ongoing investigationin the matter that recently occurred. Paperwork could not be produced showing that they rented the property for three days as they said, so they were asked to vacate the premises for the last two days. Mr. Barbour stated that there is a lot that is unknown about what happened in this case. He is of the opinion that even if this person had been taken to court at the first available opportunity, we may nothave at all been able to prevent the person from renting the property based on a prior case thathappened in Bay Village years ago involving a Bed and Breakfast. There is a serious question inour ordinances about the way these are handled.
Mr. Tadych stated that if he found people parking in his front yard, as a resident he would have aterrible time with this and would expect that the police should back him up. He is not sure that this
actually happened, he assumed it did, and he does not want to think that he has to go through the trouble of making these people pay. He does not want to see that he has to sue them.

Mr. Barbour stated that there are more than two different issues. There is the issue of short term rentals, or transient housing in Bay Village. There is a separate issue of somebody having a party
and the party attendees doing these things as Mr. Tadych described. Obviously, a transient housing or short term rental legislation is not going to prevent people who come to a party from parking in your yard if they are of that mindset. Certainly there have been big parties in Bay Village prior to last Saturday. That is a law enforcement matter for those people who were discovered, caught, and ticketed. The prosecutor and police are working on it diligently. That happens to be what happened at this party. The impression should not be created that addressing the short term housing license code is going to prevent what Mr. Tadych described, or is going to influence the decision of the police when someone is charged, or the decision of the prosecutor to go forward with a prosecution. That is separate from what our code says whether you can or cannot have an Airbnb rental. Law enforcement can do what they do under our current code for the parking problem. Other relatedproblems of disturbing the peace are completely separate and apart from anything to do with ourAirbnb code.

‘Mr. Tadych stated that it could be part of the problem with Airbnb’s in general, finding people parking in other areas of the City, because they are at an Airbnb house. That is another reason to
say I am in favor of an Airbnb or not. Mr. Clark stated that Council welcomes a draft of legislation that is more descriptive in nature as
discussed here and it will be taken up as early as possible.’

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