Simplified: The city will likely take a less restrictive approach than Minnehaha County to regulating short-term rentals like those on Airbnb or VRBO, Senior Planner Jason Bieber told the city planning commission on Tuesday. But they'll have to meet in the middle when it comes to joint jurisdiction areas.

Why it matters

  • Minnehaha County recently passed an ordinance tightening the reins on short-term rentals. Anyone who wants to run a short-term rental now has to file what's called a "conditional use permit" that has to be approved by the county commission.
  • Now, that rule change has prompted discussion within the Sioux Falls planning commission on how the city may approach short-term rental regulation. That's because the city and county need to come to an agreement on what the rules should be for any properties that fall within the joint jurisdiction of both government entities.
  • But the city isn't interested in regulating short-term rentals, Bieber said, at least not right now. City planners have researched the scope of short-term rentals – there are about 400 within city limits – but any actual rules would have to come from City Council. And so far, no one has come forward with an ordinance.
"It's like 0.1% of single-family houses," Bieber said. "Four hundred sounds like a big number, but when you have 60,000 properties, I mean, it's not a big number at all, really."

Wait, what is the joint jurisdiction area?

It's essentially the areas around Sioux Falls that are currently part of Minnehaha County but are likely someday going to be within city limits.

  • Until they're part of the city – whether that's in one year or 20 – the city and county work together to govern them.

Ok, cool. So what's going to happen with short-term rentals?

Let's be clear: right now the planning commission is just talking about short-term rental rules within the joint jurisdiction area.

  • There's not anything on the table right now that would change the existing rules within city limits.

That said, Bieber and Urban Planner Fletcher Lacock laid out three possible options for the joint jurisdiction area:

  • Do nothing. (Probably unlikely)
  • Require a special use permit. This means a person can get a permit for a short-term rental by meeting certain criteria. For example: In-home day care facilities have to get signatures from neighbors before opening.
  • Require a conditional use permit. This is what Minnehaha County did – it's a type of permit that has to be approved by the local governing body (like the County Commisison or City Council)

Bieber said he'd prefer a special use permit because it establishes some regulations without needing to have a public hearing every time someone opens a short-term rental.

  • Planning commission members largely agreed, but there's much more discussion to come before decisions are made.

What happens next?

The topic of short-term rentals is expected to come up for discussion at the city and county joint planning meeting later this month.

From there, we'll have a better sense of what a joint ordinance might look like, as well as the timeline moving forward.