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Village Council responds to HB 563

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During the Tuesday, Feb. 22, Village Council meeting, held virtually via Zoom, Council members deliberated over their response to Ohio House Bill 563, a piece of legislation that would limit the legislative power munici­palities have over short-term rentals, including Airbnbs and breakfast ventures.

The Republican-sponsored proposed legislation was introduced to the General Assembly on Feb. 8 and was sent to the State and Local Government committee on Feb. 15, according to Legiscan. The bill states that municipalities will no longer be able to ban or limit the number of short-term rentals. If passed, the legislation may nullify Village ordinances limiting the number of short-term rentals in Yellow Springs.

Council President Brian Housh shared a copy of the proposed bill in the Council packet. The bill reads, in part:

“No county, township, or municipal corporation shall adopt or enforce any regulation, restriction, or other resolution or ordinance that does either of the following: (1) Prohibits short-term rental properties; (2) Regulates the number, duration, or frequency of rental periods for short-term rental properties.”

Village Solicitor Breanne Parcels said that the legislation appears to have some loopholes, saying that short-term rentals could be regulated, but that they would have to be regulated in the same way other rental properties are regulated. That section reads:

“Division (B) of this section does not prohibit a county, township, or municipal corporation from enacting or enforcing a regulation, ordinance, or resolution that regulates, prohibits, or otherwise limits short-term rental properties, provided the regulation, prohibition, or limitation is enforced by the county, township, or municipal corporation in the same manner as for similar properties that are not short-term rental properties.”

Council member Marianne MacQueen said she is in favor of writing a resolution in opposition to the proposed legislation.

“It’s just another example of the state taking away local control,” she said.

Housh said it is important for the Village to come up with a strategy, explaining that the state Legislature would give the proposed bill three hearings before voting on the measure.

“We need to go and testify,” Housh said. “This is really problematic.”

The bill received a first committee hearing on Feb. 16, according to the Ohio General Assembly’s calendar and agenda for the State and Local Government committee. Council Clerk Judy Kintner asked whether writing a resolution was the best move for the Village in order to affect legislative decisions at the state level.

“I feel like we fire off these resolutions into the void on a regular basis and Mike DeWine is the only person who has ever responded,” she said. “I wonder if there is a better way to affect policy?”

Village Manager Josué Salmerón said that sending resolutions does matter.

“It’s one more piece that someone has to document,” he said. “My experience with the Ohio Municipal League is that all of these efforts help. It provides backing for the advocacy of the Ohio Municipal League.”

MacQueen suggested that she work with Village administration to write a resolution and a letter in opposition to the bill. Housh said that telling state legislators how this legislation would affect the makeup of a village like Yellow Springs is very important.

“Telling the story around the integrity of our small towns is going to be a really compelling argument,” he said.

In other Village Council business, Feb. 22:

Council heard first readings on two ordinances that will create a capital improvement fund for streets and another for stormwater.

According to Salmerón, these funds are for accounting purposes and will allow the Village administration to better track spending. The funds will also serve as places to deposit grant money that the Village receives.

“This is primarily an accounting cleanup,” Salmerón said.

Council also passed three resolutions allowing the village manager to enter into contracts for Village projects, including:

A contract with Ranger Construction for the Dayton Street sewer rerouting project. This resolution reflects changes in the contract with Ranger Construction. The original contract, passed in October 2021, left a balance of grant money. This resolution expands the scope of work, which will utilize all of the grant money, but will cost the Village an additional $25,146.35.

A contract with Choice One Engineering for the engineering of the $1.2 million water line replacement project. According to the resolution, the cost of the contract to the Village will not exceed $64,210.

An agreement for professional services with Encompass Engineers and Architects Inc., a firm that will consult with the Village on the Village’s electric distribution system to “identify both short term and long term projects for future load growth and to improve reliability.” The cost to the Village will not exceed $76,000.

Other business from the Feb. 22 meeting will be covered in a future issue of the News.

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