Making sense of short-term rentals

Print Article

The Flathead County commissioners have given a preliminary nod of approval to a zoning amendment that will regulate short-term rentals in zoned areas, and we think thatís a good thing.

Montanans, in the spirit of that old country classic, ďDonít Fence Me In,Ē tend to balk at increased regulation in their personal lives, but in the case of imposing some rules in the local burgeoning short-term rental market, it makes sense to have procedures that will protect both short-term rental owners and their neighbors.

Right now hundreds of VRBO (vacation rental by owner) and Airbnb homes are offered for nightly rent in the Flathead, but with no oversight or regulation. They are an illegal use in zoned areas of the county.

As the county Planning Board considered the new performance standards for short-term rentals, board members heard a wide range of testimony, from horror stories of vacationers gone wild to comments from short-term rental operators who couldnít afford to live here if they werenít able to rent out their homes and properties throughout the year.

The board was split on the proposed regulations and sent the proposal to the commissioners without a recommendation. When the commissioners looked at the proposal last week, they did so thoughtfully and thoroughly. As Commissioner Gary Krueger aptly pointed out, the new application process for an administrative conditional-use permit gives the county the ability to look at each rental situation individually. If a situation arises where mitigation is needed, the county Board of Adjustment would hear those cases and determine a course of action.

The commissionersí decision was split, too, with Commissioner Phil Mitchell voting against it because he felt some issues hadnít been fully addressed. Thereís still time to further tweak the regulations; another public comment period will be held before the commissioners make a final decision.

We commend the Northwest Montana Association of Realtors for taking the lead in proposing a zoning amendment aimed at protecting homeowners, the property rights of neighbors and the traveling publicís safety and well-being. Making short-term rentals a legal use certainly better enables Realtors to help their clients, but these performance standards will benefit everyone and create a level playing field in the short-term rental market.

Print Article

Read More Editorial

Drug court makes sense for Flathead

October 15, 2017 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake As Flathead Valley law-enforcement agencies battle an increase in the use of meth, heroin and prescription medicines, itís encouraging to hear judicial officials and law-enforcement leaders talking s...

Comments

Read More

Bump-stock ban isnít gun control

October 13, 2017 at 11:24 am | Daily Inter Lake Most of us, like most of you, had never heard of a bump stock until a few weeks ago when the Las Vegas massacre proved their deadly punch. But once becoming aware of them, it was a quick and easy d...

Comments

Read More

EDITORIAL: Donít make hasty decision on county jail site

October 08, 2017 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Itís more or less a foregone conclusion that Flathead County likely will have to find a site to build a new adult detention center thatís big enough to hold the countyís prison population well into t...

Comments

Read More

EDITORIAL: Local folks do us all proud in Vegas

October 06, 2017 at 9:13 am | Daily Inter Lake The tragedy in Las Vegas came close to home for several Flathead County residents who happened to be in attendance at the Route 91 Harvest music festival Sunday when a depraved killer opened fire on ...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2017 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X