Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

New short-term rental legislation causes controversy in the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 02/12/2018
Story By Fitzgerald, Maggie

New short-term rental legislation causes controversy in the Northwoods
NORTHWOODS - Owning a second home can be expensive. Between property taxes and maintenance costs, homeowners are sometimes paying more than the property is worth.

Thanks to a new law, homeowners now have more power over what they can do with their home when they aren't using it.


Wisconsin legislators passed a new law that protects the ability of homeowners to rent out their homes on a short-term basis with the hope of increasing second-home ownership. But the law has some members of the Northwoods community worried about their peace and quiet. 

"It's just disruptive. It's just not a residential area anymore," said Paul Werner, a resident of Sugar Camp.

Werner and his wife, Karen, have owned their home since 1972.

"It just been one mess right after the other with the renters," said Werner.

Over the years, Werner has had countless bad experiences with a neighboring home that rents short-term.

"Every week it's a different group of people, it's a different group of noise, and a different group of kids screaming and yelling," Werner said.

Werner is worried others in the Northwoods will have the same bad experience because of the recent change in the law.

"If people are going to come up and be respectful, it's going to be no problem. If people are going to come up partying and shooting off fireworks every night, then we're going to see some real backlash," said Jim Mulleady of Coldwell Banker Mulleady Realtors.

The controversial law, which passed as a part of the budget, gives homeowners rather than local government control of home rentals.

"We've always had the desire for people to rent out their homes," said Oneida County Zoning Director Karl Jennrich.

Jennrich says there has been an increase in rental permit requests. But he worries about taking away local control.

"Once you start renting it out on such a basis, it's more of a business," Jennrich said.

The owner of Holiday Acres Resort in Rhinelander, Kim Zambon, was disappointed with the way the law was passed. He said the process didn't allow for any public debate.

"I think we're opening up the marketplace to some pretty unregulated and uncontrolled rental opportunities," Zambon said.

Zambon worries about the effect the change will have on his own business.

"I think there should be an even playing field," he said.

Steven Petersen, board president of the Minocqua Chamber of Commerce, says that as long as the resort business is protected, more foot traffic in the Northwoods is good for the economy.

"It just enhances our community, makes it a better community when we have people coming here and leaving their money," Petersen said.

Homeowner Curt Frost isn't trying to compete with local resorts. He lives in Illinois and rents out his second home in Minocqua. Frost said owning the home wouldn't be worth it if he couldn't rent it out and offset some of the property taxes and maintenance costs.

"It wouldn't make that much sense to have that much money parked in a second home," he said. "There wouldn't be any tax advantages, and we probably wouldn't enjoy it the same way." 

But the Werners think they have a right to enjoy their home too.

"They say people, like the neighbors here, have a right to do things on their property. But don't the rest of us have a right?" said Werner.

State Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) did not support the law being put into the budget.

"They better make sure that their renters are not causing trouble, because if there's enough problems that are created, we'll have to take the privilege away from them," Tiffany said.

Local governments can make regulations that require property owners to comply with noise standards, parking requirements, and health permits.

The law also allows local governments to place a six-month cap on rentals, but Oneida County is not doing that. It is requiring a seven-day minimum on home rentals. 

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

Play Video

MERRILL - A Northwoods school pulled off a big surprise on Friday to honor a few veterans. After months of planning, students and staff at Kate Goodrich Elementary got to see the payoff of all their hard work.

"It was like kind of overwhelming," said Wolfgang Lenk. 

Lenk, Todd Annis, and Randy Perry had no idea they would be the guests of honor.

"To see all these kids and knowing how hard they worked selling all this, and now your name comes up that you're one of the three recipients, it was awesome," said Annis. 

+ Read More

WOOD COUNTY - A body was pulled from the Wisconsin River in Wood County Tuesday.

Devante London, 22, was reported missing on April 9. 


+ Read More

Play Video

TOMAHAWK - Football, basketball, and soccer make up a few of the more popular high school sports. But a sport that has recently been introduced in high schools is quickly gaining popularity. 

Trap Shooting isn't the most traditional high school sport, but teens are embracing it and the sport is soaring in popularity. 

"Since we joined our conference we're going from approximately 17 teams to about 42 teams in the northern half of the state," said Tomahawk Clay Busters Head Coach Dan Winter. 

The Tomahawk Clay Busters youth team started five years ago. Since then, more and more kids have wanted to be a part of it. 

+ Read More

TOMAHAWK - The first thing you notice about Tomahawk Police Chief Al Elvins is his Southern drawl.

He lived in Georgia for years.

The second thing you notice is just as out of place in northern Wisconsin. It's the black and yellow. Everywhere.

In the land of the green and gold, Packers country, Elvins is a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

He'll take you outside the Tomahawk Police Department to show you the guard posts.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - A scoop of frozen custard goes down pretty well on a humid day like the Northwoods saw Friday. Rhinelander's Associated Bank made grabbing a scoop an easy way to help others.

Culver's set up a mobile custard stand outside the new bank building on the corner of Lincoln Street and Oneida Avenue from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.  Fifty cents from every $2.50 cup sold went to Associated Bank's Children's Miracle Network fund.

The bank is hoping to raise $500 through its fundraisers for CMN this month.

+ Read More

CRANDON - Crandon High School honored dozens of students on Thursday as part of its Student of the Year Awards.

For the eighth year, teachers at the school were asked to select a student who excelled in their class.

This year's winners include:

Math: Claudia Krueger, Drew Boney, Jacob Wilson, Jordan Kalata, Hallie Henrie, Lindsay Littleton, Kilie Kramer

Social Studies: Allyson Stepper, Jonathon Strzyz, Jordan Brooks, Elizabeth Conway, Devon Evans, Erika Kern, Mc Kenna Jensen, Maddi Stroik, Lindsay Littleton

+ Read More

Play Video

TOMAHAWK - Many race car and dirt track drivers will rev up their engines at the Tomahawk Speedway Saturday, which is when the dirt season starts.

The dirt track season starts Saturday.

"It's awesome, the adrenaline rush is great," said race car driver Shauna Cottrell when she was doing some practice runs at the speedway.

"I'm not going to lie; it can be scary at times. But it's the thrill of a life time," said Cottrell.

After doing a few practice runs around the track last week, Cottrell is ready for the dirt racing season to kick off Sunday at the Tomahawk Speedway.

"It feels great to know that I can get out and compete with the guys," said Cottrell.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here