Rules May Tighten Yet Again for Duluth Rental Properties | FOX 21 News

Rules May Tighten Yet Again for Duluth Rental Properties

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

By: Dana Thayer, Photojournalist: Harry Baker

FOX 21 News, KQDS-DT

DULUTH – There’s a “manifesting problem” in some Duluth neighborhoods, according to some city councilors.

On Monday, the city council took action on it.

A 5-4 vote passed an amendment to the city’s Small Area Plan.

The move will set the stage for the city to make stricter rental rules on areas near UMD and St. Scholastica.

The measure comes after concerns that single family-turned–rental homes were being converted to have more bedrooms and more tenants than previously designed for, and some councilors believed the city’s new rental code prevented that.

The worry is that adding more rooms and tenants is overcrowding neighborhoods and streets.

Duluth Mayor Don Ness is not siding with the amendment specifically, but explained the fairly–new rental code.

“I guess what we’re trying to accomplish is the appropriate use of these homes,” Mayor Ness said.

While city officials have come to understand the rental code a bit differently, what most can agree that it is supposed to do is make sure that neighborhoods do not suffer by taking on more people than it can handle.

“When you have a property and you increase the density by a tremendous amount and go from two cars to six cars and just assume those cars are going to park in front of somebody’s house, you are externalizing the cost of your business onto the neighbors,” Mayor Ness said.

Mayor Ness said the rental code is not necessarily flawed and amending it may not be the answer.

“I don’t believe in prohibiting someone from doing things with their property,” Mayor Ness said. “I think the role of government is you can make choices about this property, you just need to do so responsibly.”

With most agreeing that rentals and homeowners can co–exist, it has yet to be seen if new rules will re-define that relationship.

The next step for the changes to rental rules will be up to the Planning Commission.

The commission is asked to re-look into certain boundaries of the Small Area Plan to try and find a way to enforce more protection on single family homes that are being converted into rental properties.

via Rules May Tighten Yet Again for Duluth Rental Properties | FOX 21 News.

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