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Peoria City Council defers further discussion on tightening short-term rental regulations until January

Tim Shelley

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 onspecial-use, short-term rentals [STR] in any given neighborhood from 3% in a quarter-mile radius to 1% in a half-mile radius. Those rentals also would need to be at least 1,500 feet away from the next closest special use STR.

The council voted Tuesday to defer action 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 council member 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 council member 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 STRs, 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 council member 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.

Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.