Simplified: The Minnehaha County Planning Commission on Monday voted to recommend approval to an ordinance that would define "short-term rentals" and set some parameters for how those properties can operate.

Why it matters

  • The proposed ordinance has seen several revisions since a first draft was presented to commissioners back in December. If passed by the County Commission later this month, it'll tighten the reins on rentals, but not quite as much as the original pitch.
  • Short-term rental owners say they had hoped to see more flexibility in the ordinance when it came to limits on the number of people per bedroom and the number of parking spaces required, but they're happy to see the county meet them in the middle.
  • Historically, these types of properties have fallen under the county's definition of a bed and breakfast, but that's not working well, County Planning Director Scott Anderson said.
"That's not the best fit," Anderson said. "So we are amending the ordinance to basically help everyone involved."

What are the proposed rules?

The ordinance would create a definition for "vacation home rental" and "short-term rental" – essentially differentiating them from bed and breakfasts and noting that they're properties rented on a daily or weekly basis.

Regulations for these short-term rentals would include:

  • A maximum occupancy of no more than three people per bedroom,
  • Requiring a minimum of one off-street parking space per guest bedroom,
  • The properties must be registered with the state as a vacation home,
  • And contact info for the owner/manager of the rental must be both submitted to the county planning department and displayed within the home.

How are those rules different from the first draft?

The first draft would've required a minimum of one parking space per guest, and it would've limited the number of guests per bedroom to two (a change that was amended Monday night).

  • The latest draft also eliminated a caveat in the first draft that would've required short-term rental owners to pay $500 every two years for the planning commission to review their property.

Rental owners said they're happy to see the commission's willingness to make changes, but they would've liked to be able to house four guests in one bedroom instead of capping them at three. They also would've liked more flexibility in terms of parking.

Kayla Huizing, co-owner of SoDak Stays, a company that manages short-term rentals, said she's happy to be included in the discussion, and doesn't see a huge concern if the ordinance passes.

  • That said, she's also watching closely as the city looks at possible regulations for short-term rentals within city limits.
"We would hope that the city takes a different approach to the topic when they discuss a potential ordinance," Huizing said. "We know the needs of guests inside and outside of the city are very different."

What happens next?

The proposed ordinance is expected to go in front of the County Commission for approval on March 28.