The Peoria City Council is putting off any decisions on short-term rental regulation changes to the new year.
Proposed changes under discussion around the horseshoe would reduce the cap on special use short-term rentals in any given neighborhood from 3% in a quarter-mile radius to 1% in a half-mile radius. Those rentals would also need to be at least 1500 feet away from the next-closest special use STR.
The council voted to defer a vote Tuesday. This came after council member Denis Cyr made a motion to approve tightened rules, but also make all short-term rentals permitted uses, which wouldn’t normally need to come before the city council for final approval. Those properties would then be subject to the new restrictions.
Currently, short-term rentals where the owner isn’t present during a visitor’s stay require a special use that comes to the council.
At-large councilmember John Kelly supported the idea of expanding permitted uses.
“The idea that a person can follow all the rules and have perfect approval and come here and for whatever arbitrary reason we decided no, I think, as I’ve said before, I think is bad law. It’s arbitrary,” Kelly said.
But others, like Second District councilmember Chuck Grayeb, objected to the idea.
“This is a Trojan horse. A motion to erode the ability of neighborhoods, through their elected representatives, to say yes or no to these mini hotels,” he said.
Homeowners associations can create covenants governing or banning STR’s, but most of the city’s older neighborhoods don’t have those protections available.
The city has handled just two complaints regarding short-term rentals since passing its original ordinance. Third District councilmember Tim Riggenbach wondered aloud if the council was honing in on the speck in its eye and ignoring the log, alluding to a Bible verse.
“I can’t believe the time and energy we’re spending on something that has not become a problem,” Riggenbach said.
Whatever directive the council ultimately decides to give will be drafted up into an ordinance by city staffers and passed along to the Planning and Zoning Commission for a review. The ordinance would then come back to council for a final vote.
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