OSCODA – The Oscoda Township Board of Trustees on Monday, Nov. 9 approved a contract with Host Compliance to oversee short-term vacation rentals within the township.
The company will be responsible for locating and registering all the short-term rentals and will ensure the guests at those rentals are following rules laid out in a township ordinance, which was required before the contract with Host Compliance would be accepted.
The ordinance defines a short-term rental, such as an Airbnb, and requires homeowners to apply for an annual permit from the township. It also lays out ground rules for things like garbage, parking, pets, noise and events.
Trustee William Palmer, who also sits on the planning commission subcommittee for the township, said the project has been in the works for several years but came about because the planning commission was dealing with numerous complaints from people living near short-term rentals in private homes. He said two years ago, Host Compliance searched all the rental property websites for rentals in Oscoda and found more than 40.
“As you can imagine, it’s a great idea, it brings people into the area, but it also opens up the opportunity for some negative effects where a three-bedroom home on the lake all of a sudden has 20 people living there and partying all night and bothering the neighbors, garbage concerns, parking concerns and all those kinds of things,” Palmer told board members.
He explained that Host Compliance has a 24/7 hotline to deal with complaints like that, and they will have the contact information for the owners of the homes in case they need to reach them. The homeowners are charged a fee for their permit, and Host Compliance takes their cut of that money so the township won’t have to pay for the service outright.
Treasurer Jaimie McGuire questioned why these complaints aren’t handled by the planning commission or the code enforcement officer, but Palmer said often by the time it reaches them, the guests have moved on.
“It would be a great deal of work for one person to try to oversee the entire project, that’s why we felt it was important to have Host Compliance — with the expertise that they have — overseeing it and it virtually doesn’t cost us anything because the fees that they charge cover their rate,” Palmer responded.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Oscoda resident Brian Haley said he didn’t support outsourcing another entity to enforce the rules.
“If there’s noise problems with party revelers and things of this sort in the summer or whatever, all they have to do is call the police and those things will be handled,” he said.
Palmer made the motion to approve the professional services contract with Host Compliance, with support from Trustee Jim Baier. The motion passed 5-1, with McGuire dissenting and Trustee Martin Gayeski absent.
The board also took action on the following items:
• Voted to submit the City Village Township Revenue Sharing (CVTRS) report in compliance with the State of Michigan’s Transparency and Accountability Initiative, which offers Oscoda Township an $18,000 incentive for doing so.
• Approved a request from Blue Ribbon Events to once again host three events in 2021, including the Fresh Air Market, Flights on the Beach and Pumpkins in the Park.
• Approved a payment to ROWE Professional Services in the amount of $110,504.75.
• Closed the Phase II checking account that was used during the Phase II water main extension project. New checking accounts must be created for each phase of the project, Treasurer Jaimie McGuire said.
• Approved a request from the Oscoda-AuSable Chamber of Commerce to host the Northern Lights Parade and Holiday Celebration parade staging area at Furtaw Field on Dec. 5, 2020.
• Approved the hiring of Genevieve Moore as the assistant librarian of the Robert J. Parks Library. Moore started in the position on Nov. 11.
• Accepted the resignation of Robert Taisor from the township planning commission. After losing the race for township supervisor, Taisor said he would be retiring from public service. Board members accepted his resignation with regrets, but Palmer voted against the request.
• Approved a land division request for a parcel on Bissonnette Road.
• Extended the contract with F&V Operations and Resource Management (FVOP) for township utilities for another five years.
• Approved the second round of annual refusals for foreclosed properties.
• Approved a settlement agreement with MacArther Construction as discussed in a closed session with the township attorney and approved a payment to the invoice of the mediator.