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STR ordinance proposed to Calumet Township

CALUMET TOWNSHIP — The Calumet Township Board heard from a small group of concerned residents on the topic of short-term rentals during the public comment period of its regular monthly meeting Friday. They proposed that the board adopt an STR ordinance similar to that of the city of Hancock.

Hancock’s Ordinance Number 307, section 99.05 states that an STR located with the city must be owner occupied and the owner must reside on the premises for the duration of the rental. Additionally, STRs must be licensed by the city under the Residential Property Code.

A nine-page packet containing details on STRs in Calumet Township was handed out to each of the township board members that states, in part, that currently there are 144 STRs in the township, versus 12 for sale properties. In 2024, the total available listings for STRs was 117, a 29% increase over the previous year; 88% listed an entire home and 12% listed a private room, adding that STR properties are vacant more than 50% of the year on average.

The packet also listed several local employers who stated they are looking to expand their businesses and are looking to hire, but prospective employees are struggling to find housing.

The packet went on to say that the economic impact of STRs on the local community becomes evident when it is considered that in some instances in which one owns six Airbnbs, that equates to one job, whereas if those six homes were occupied by six families, that could equate to one or more jobs per household.

“STRs put zero kids on the hockey team, football team or a future citizen,” the packet states.

The packet also says that developers will not invest in the area without a strong and diverse economic bedrock. The U.P. is considered high-risk due to low population, it says, and a tourist-based economy that is volatile.

Brent Halonen, V.P. of engineering with Steelhead Technologies, said that company is just one that is struggling to expand due to a shortage of housing. In addition, he said, he would not want an STR in his neighborhood because of concerns of who his transient neighbors would be and concern for his children and those of his neighbors. This type of concern is mentioned in a Thursday press release announcing the organization of a statewide coalition to “fight back against unwanted or undesirable short-term rental projects” throughout the state of Michigan.

The release states that the coalition, called Save-Our-Community (SOC), will assist villages and towns facing threats from STRs and other projects that contribute to housing prices increasing and shortages.

Halonen’s comments echoed those stated in the SOC release.

“Very few people want to live next to a short-term-rental,” SOC founder Mar Trierweiler said. “The partying, noise, alcohol and drug use, inadequate parking, and simply not knowing who is (who’s) living next door from week to week can turn a quiet neighborhood into a hellscape during peak rental months.”

In response to the proposal, Calumet Township Supervisor Tim Gasperich said that STRs are on the list of topics of consideration for the update of the Calumet Township Master Plan.

Currently, the township does not require rental properties to be licensed or registered. It is something the board is discussing with the company assisting them with the update, he said.

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