Locals voice concerns over increase in short-term rentals

MARQUETTE — Lakeview Arena’s Citizens’ Forum was overflowing with concerned residents Thursday afternoon as a joint planning commission work session was underway to discuss the idea of short-term rentals in the area.

For those not familiar with the idea, this can range anywhere from property owners renting out a fully furnished room in their house to renting a whole separate property to tourists in the area for a short period of time. Marquette has seen a pattern of short-term rentals in the area, prompting city officials to take a stance and decide how to regulate them.

Nicole Young, the Executive Director for Travel Marquette, spoke on behalf of several hotel managers at the meeting.

“We suggest that these transient lodging facilities that you’re proposing to allow operate on a level playing field with our hotels,” Young said. “That’s going to help preserve the Marquette experience, protect our businesses from unfair competition and help keep our neighborhoods in line with Marquette’s long term vision.”

Young suggested that the rental homes pay commercial taxes as hotels do and be held to the same safety and property standards. This viewpoint, however, was not shared by all attendees.

“The idea that my neighbor, who might be on a fixed income, and is trying to bring in a few extra dollars needs to now be on a level playing field with a multi-million dollar, international corporation? It’s an absurd claim that it could ever be level,” said Marquette Resident, Robert Goodrich.

The meeting was to record public comment and hear the concerns that needed to be addressed. No decision followed the conclusion of the meeting.