Op-Ed: Fair treatment for all owners
We are your neighbors. We own and care for homes that welcome guests to Door County, often in a neighborhood setting. Over 80% of our homes are owned by Wisconsinites. Our homes pay considerable lodging taxes in addition to property tax. If the ordinances currently under consideration in Sevastopol (and envisaged by other cantons) come into force, our rentals will be negatively affected; the corresponding accommodation taxes will decrease considerably; and all homeowners will almost certainly see a tax increase to fill these budget holes.
We contribute more to the tax base than the average home because of a 5.5% room tax, which helps pay for services that benefit the entire community, including road repairs and d other essential services. In 2019, short-term rentals contributed about $ 1.53 million (30%) of the $ 5.1 million Door County collected in resort tax revenue. Last year Sevastopol alone received $ 102,477 through its share of resort tax revenue.
We are attacked by people who have stereotyped us as hosts who crowd our homes, make more noise than the average dwellers, and ignore our neighbors. Nothing could be further from the truth.
According to the Sheriff’s Department, across Door County between 2019 and 2021, the monthly average of all nuisance calls – not just related to short-term rentals – is less than seven. That’s over 13,000 households in our county. .
But based on what we believe to be inaccurate accusations, Sevastopol City Council wants to impose a limit on how often these houses can be rented: a rental can only start at least seven days after the first day of rental. the previous rental. As a result, many of us lose half of our reservations.
We formed the Door County Vacation Rental Association to clarify the story of who we are and what we value. We strive to promote the community of Door County, contribute to its economy, and be good neighbors.
What does it mean to be a good neighbor? We have adopted the Door County Tourist Zone policy. This involves conducting ourselves in a manner that is respectful and non-disruptive to neighbors, and sharing owner contact details with neighbors so they can find quick solutions to any concerns. It covers garbage disposal, pets, parking, and sensitivity to our awesome natural ecosystem.
So what’s the problem?
There is a small percentage of hosts sharing the house who do not function as good neighbors. Like you, we believe these hosts should be held accountable. We agree with noise, parking and occupancy limitations and law enforcement.
However, a restriction on guest stays does not resolve these challenges. We believe it aims to eliminate homes shared with clients.
Many of us have lived in Door County for generations. We invest and take care of our homes. Our business benefits local plumbers, cleaners, roofers, landscapers, carpenters and all contractors in general. Income from our clients helps support the local economy through visits to restaurants, entertainment venues, golf courses, kayaking businesses, shopping and more.
There are ways to address concerns. Strengthen and enforce existing ordinances on noise, parking and the capacity of septic systems, for example. In addition, the tourist tax can drop from 5.5% to 8%, and part of this increase can help with additional enforcement and accountability.
We have offered a high-profile approach to address the concerns of the city of Sevastopol, and Sevastopol’s rulers have repeatedly refused it. Why don’t city leaders accept mediation? Would they prefer to take legal action? We have hired a lawyer to do this if necessary, but we prefer to have a respectful discussion and develop a reasonable solution that addresses the legitimate concerns.
You can help by making your voice heard. This ordinance is expected to be voted on by the Sevastopol city council as early as this month. A public consultation meeting is scheduled for May 11, 5:30 p.m., in Sevastopol. Contact Amy Flok, Clerk / Treasurer, at 920.746.1230 to make an appointment to participate. COVID-19 protocols will be followed.
If you are unable to attend in person, you can write a letter asking city leaders to meet with us to find a fair solution. Send your note by e-mail, marked “In folder”, to [email protected]
Sevastopol city council could vote to adopt this restrictive ordinance as early as May 17, so now is the time to act now.
We value our neighborhoods. We ask to be treated fairly. Please solve the real problem by strengthening and enforcing the regulations to hold the few bad apples accountable instead of economically crippling us and the economy of Door County.
On behalf of the members of the
Door County Vacation Rental Association based in Sevastopol
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Ellison Bay, Wisconsin
Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin