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Thread: Rental cabins

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Rental cabins

    How does your zoning language deal with rental cabins?

    My county is extremely rural (a large chunk of it is National Forest land) and rental cabins are becoming more prevalent. I just had one of our local rental cabin owners (Cabin Guy A) come in to discuss expanding his cabin business. The Planner here when he began the project looked at them like rental housing (which I can understand) and was fine with the Residential Zoning. The Cabin Guy A did try and go through a rezoning process and was told multiple times he did not need to (even tried to get commercial taps for the water lines).

    We have a new gentleman (Cabin Guy B) up the road from these cabins beginning to build his own. The Planner here when he began HIS project made him rezone and is making him apply for a CUP for "Motel/Hotel" (which again, I can understand). I know allowing the Cabin Guy A to build his new ones without rezoning will only have Cabin Guy B come in here screaming about it, but I don't see how its fair to have the Cabin Guy A rezone, and I can't really change any process that Cabin Guy B has already gone through.

    In the end, the planner during Cabin Guy A's beginning probably should have looked at a moratorium on the cabin development till they could have added in a specific use to our table, but they did not. It should have been a simple thing to see that this issue would just get bigger over the next few years, being that a all of of our tourism relies on the Forest and we have NO rental facilities (Seriously, there is one hotel in the whole county). Our Conditional Use table is EXTREMELY lacking (consisting of just 22 named uses), so its incredibly frustrating to have things like this happen.

    What would you recommend? How does your language address this?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    One rental cabin on a property is a residential use. Multiple cabins are a commercial use. Explain to Cabin Guy A that he will need to submit a rezoning petition. It does not sound like the county is likely to deny it. Then rewrite your zoning code to address the issue.
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Rental cabins

    A few thoughts. If Cabin Guy A has not exceeded your single family density, and you allow multiple dwellings on a property (we do) then he might be okay. If not, their should be treated as a hotel/motel and a rezoning is needed. We have many such properties that predate zoning. They were prohibited in 1973. However, we just made several of these properties legal with a new Seasonal Resort Community zoning district
    Planning is much like acting, as my old theater professor used to say, "If you sin, sin boldly, only you know if you are ad libbing." I follow this adage almost daily.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by DennisMaPlanner View post
    A few thoughts. If Cabin Guy A has not exceeded your single family density, and you allow multiple dwellings on a property (we do) then he might be okay. If not, their should be treated as a hotel/motel and a rezoning is needed. We have many such properties that predate zoning. They were prohibited in 1973. However, we just made several of these properties legal with a new Seasonal Resort Community zoning district
    He has not, and that's why he came to see me. To make sure he's not exceeding that (we allow 3 residences per lot, if they meet specific size requirements, which his do)

    I think I will use this as a basis for why Cabin A is allowed to remain residential while Cabin B is not (Cabin B will be way over that maximum). With Cabin A Guy, he owns the cabins outright, himself. Cabin B Guy owns his cabins through an LLC, which I consider a business.

  5. #5
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Based on your description, I would categorized the use as "visitor accommodations" and consequently a commercial use.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by AG74683 View post
    He has not, and that's why he came to see me. To make sure he's not exceeding that (we allow 3 residences per lot, if they meet specific size requirements, which his do)

    I think I will use this as a basis for why Cabin A is allowed to remain residential while Cabin B is not (Cabin B will be way over that maximum). With Cabin A Guy, he owns the cabins outright, himself. Cabin B Guy owns his cabins through an LLC, which I consider a business.
    I believe you would run into a legal issue with that. You are discriminating based on ownership, not on use.
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  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    I believe you would run into a legal issue with that. You are discriminating based on ownership, not on use.
    I guess that is true.

    Honestly if I choose to pursue a rezoning on this matter, and the subsequent CUP, it will open a can of worms that will never be empty. I think the best method would be to draft language that prevents this from happening again, and let the current two go about their business.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    I would say you have your answer A complies with density and B does not. For B comply needs a zoning change, or he stays as is. No need to deal with the fom of ownership, any weekly rental could be a business use anyway.
    Planning is much like acting, as my old theater professor used to say, "If you sin, sin boldly, only you know if you are ad libbing." I follow this adage almost daily.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    I have talked with my County Manager concerning this issue, and he agrees that pursuing a rezoning and CUP is not really in the best interests of the County.

    The only issue of non-compliance with the Cabin A gentleman is his sign, which we did talk about. Basically it was decided not to pursue getting the sign reduced or removed (we actually DO allow signs in residential districts that are 12 sq. ft. or less for permitted uses, however his is larger). I believe the best course of action is to talk to him and discuss the sign, and the issues with the density of the cabins (limited to 3 per parcel) and send a written notice that the sign is too big, and that if someone complains we must take action.

    Does anyone send a letter that is not a violation letter per say, just an advisory letter? I was thinking of calling it something along the lines of a "Zoning Inconsistency Letter".

  10. #10
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by AG74683 View post
    I have talked with my County Manager concerning this issue, and he agrees that pursuing a rezoning and CUP is not really in the best interests of the County.

    Does anyone send a letter that is not a violation letter per say, just an advisory letter? I was thinking of calling it something along the lines of a "Zoning Inconsistency Letter".
    No. Your boss has spoken. Move on to the next headache.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    No. Your boss has spoken. Move on to the next headache.
    Well I asked that last question because he recommended I send a letter. I'm just thinking that it might come back to bite us if we have on record a letter saying "we know its wrong, but until someone complains we will ignore it".

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    "We are aware that it is wrong. The county may consider taking action."
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