Duluth Vacation Dwelling Units (VRBO etc)

A short update on a proposal I and Councilor Fosle will be bringing forward next council meeting. My first year on the council (2016) was consumed for the first five months with the debate on how to, or if to, regulate vacation dwelling units (VDU’s) and home-sharing (if you’re unsure of what the difference is follow this link to find out). While there was a lot of debate and most of it was thoughtful, some of it was however, unfortunate as some councilors wanted to place a higher value on certain neighborhoods, overall we have a good policy (you can find some of the regulations here). I authored an amendment that had staff review the policy after one year of implementation, after consulting with staff I believe these services have provided a benefit to the city of Duluth. Another amendment that I authored (with Councilor Filipovich) was to cap VDU license at 60, this was a good middle ground for some colleagues who were more on the fence about embracing the sharing economy and allowing any and all homes become a VDU. The city hit its 60th licensed VDU around May. There was some concern that by having a cap of 60 that it would create an artificial demand for the limited number of license and that there would be a rush and all 60 would be gone in weeks (that didn’t happen) there was also concern that every single VDU would go into one neighborhood (they didn’t, and that argument short changes a lot of the other really great neighborhoods that we have in Duluth). I along with Councilor Fosle will be asking to allow another 60 license be allowed bringing the total VDU’s up to 120. I believe that we should be embracing the sharing economy and not running from it while still balancing the interests of renters and homeowners. These home-sharing services do a good job of providing space for visitors and a unique experience in Duluth’s neighborhoods, that otherwise are unavailable to them.