Peoria City Council updates guidelines for short-term rentals

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Peoria City Council is clarifying and setting more regulations for the operation of short-term rentals in the city.

During Tuesday night’s city council meeting, the topic of short-term rentals once again was one of the more lengthy discussed subjects as it’s been for the past few weeks.

In a 7-3 vote, city leaders set three new mandates to address overcrowding, transferability of the special use permits, and the number of short-term rentals that can operate in a single neighborhood.

Going forward, the council decided that, of the maximum occupancy allowed, no more than six adult guests can stay in the rental at any given time. This measure was also set to address concerns of excessive vehicles parked in the streets.

Council members also voted for a property’s originally approved special use permit to become null and void if there’s any change in ownership of the property. This would require the new property owners to obtain a new special use application and approval.

Finally, city leaders put a 3% cap on the number of residences that can receive a special use permit for a short-term rental within a neighborhood as defined by the City of Peoria Neighborhood Associations Map.

Beth Jensen, At-Large Councilwoman, Chuck Grayeb, Second District Councilman, and Denise Jackson, First District Councilwoman, all voted no for the updated ordinance.

Both Grayeb and Jensen both mentioned the three suggested additions should have been thought out more to offer more protection for the city’s older neighborhoods that would be impacted.

Grayeb said they’ve been trying to balance the interest of the city’s neighborhoods with those who want to make money in the same neighborhoods.

“What we’re trying to do, I believe, as a council is come up with a way of doing this that doesn’t involve destructive commercialization of our legacy neighborhoods,” Grayeb said. “Commercial interest coming into our neighborhoods must be regulated and regulated very carefully.”

Grayeb said he’d like to see a map of the city so the council could visually see what the implications would be for the city as to how many short-term rentals, both with and without a special use permit, could operate and where they would be.

“It’s too soon for us to vote on these fractions and without further information that I already asked staff to provide so we would have the visual,” Grayeb said. “You can research other communities that have done this, they have been very sorry that they did not do it differently than how we’re doing it.”

Jensen said the six non-related adults limitation isn’t consistent with the city’s zoning laws which she said doesn’t allow for more than three unrelated people to stay in a house that’s in a single-family residential neighborhood.

She also said she didn’t believe the 3% limitation for short-term rentals in a neighborhood would be enough to protect neighborhoods like Moss Bradley or the Uplands and preferred to start at a 1% limitation.

“If it’s a 3% cap that means we can have 9 short-term rentals in the Moss Bradley area,” Jensen said. “We’re not against short-term rentals, we just do not want our neighborhoods to be saturated with them and we would like to take it slow.”

On the other hand, Zach Oyler, At-Large councilman, said the continued back and forth discussion on the matter was disappointing and urged the council to move forward with the short-term rental process that was approved months ago.

“This has reached an absolutely unacceptable point,” Oyler said. “If we want to continue to dig into this and come up with more solutions, we can do that but we need to start moving forward with what we told the public we were going to move forward with months ago when we passed it.”

Oyler said he’s spoken to many people who run short-term rentals and said the people using Peoria’s rentals are coming to the city looking to relocate, have job interviews, attend funerals, and scout out universities.

Ultimately after passing the new ordinance, the council voted 9-1 to approve the special use permits for the two previously denied properties on 1514 W. Columbia Terrace and 1030 N. Elmwood Avenue.

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