Bozeman City Commissioners just voted Monday to extend Bozeman’s temporary ban of vacation rentals within city limits another six months, allowing Airbnb-style operations in some districts until permanent regulations are in place.
The temporary ban of short-term rentals was set six months ago so the city could gather more information and public input to find a fair solution to the concerns some residents had about how short-term rentals would impact their neighborhoods.
Some residents in the downtown neighborhoods are worried that short-term rentals would increase traffic, late-night noise, and degrade the character and charm of their historic neighborhoods. The city also found unaccounted for listings on websites like Airbnb and HomeAway that uncovered some rented homes in Bozeman that have been avoiding the required business and conditional use permits, which were frozen by the interim ordinance.
The city made efforts to gain feedback from the public and study the effects of similar policies in other cities, but they were delayed while focusing on hiring a new planner director. Since encouraging input from residents through public forums and an online survey, the city received about 330 pages of comments to read through.
In Monday’s public meeting, some commenters questioned whether the city would be violating the state’s landlord-tenant act with these regulations. Others urged the city to make a decision before the summer tourist season arrives.
Four of the five Bozeman City Commissioners voted for the six-month extension of the interim ordinance. The one differing commissioner, I-Ho Pomeroy, proposed a shorter, three-month extension in pushing to get permanent regulations in place sooner. However, the remaining four members disagreed, arguing that the team and staff working on the issue need better information to make the best decision for the community.