New rental ordinance passed in New Buffalo, rental property owners react

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NEW BUFFALO, Mich. (WNDU) - A new rental ordinance will soon be in place for the city of New Buffalo after it was passed Monday night by the city council.

The ordinance specifically outlines regulations for short-term rentals to ensure visitors are good neighbors to permanent residents, but not everyone is happy about how the ordinance was drawn up.

“It was done too quickly,” said Jason Milovich, a longtime New Buffalo resident and owner of Bluefish Vacation Rentals. “It’s not complete, and it’s confusing.”

Milovich says while a rental ordinance is needed, the city rushed the process of drafting it.

“They just went right to it, they didn’t ask for any of our help and when I say anybody, I mean vacation rental companies in the area,” Milovich said. “They just drafted it and made their ordinance, and it’s too bad.

“I think we all want some sort of regulations with rentals, I think it’s great. But you put too many rules on something and it will affect a town.”

The ordinance limits the number of guests to two people per bedroom, plus two more for every finished story, or four people for every off-street parking space provided.

However, any residence is capped at 14 people.

The ordinance also requires curbside trash pickup two days a week when a unit is rented and that an agent within 45 miles of the property be designated to respond to calls from renters, concerned citizens and city representatives.

“We all want to work together to make sure there’s harmony within the community and that both visitors and residents can live together and everyone can have a positive experience,” said Heather Gladowski, a resident, realtor and landlord in New Buffalo. “There’s always going to be some of the details, and I think it is a policy that will evolve over time as we see what works and what doesn’t.”

The council did clarify that things can be amended later on, such as increasing the maximum capacity of guests per rental property from 14 to 20.

At the request of vacation rental companies and landlords, the city will create a board consisting of one vacation rental agent, a couple of citizens and some city officials. So, there is a sense of optimism that there will be more collaboration between the city and rental property owners in the future.