Hubbard County set to vote on STR ordinance at Aug. 17 meeting

Earlier this month, the Hubbard County Board signaled their readiness to move forward with amendments to county ordinances that address short-term rentals (STR). Editor's note: This article contains a correction to the printed edition regarding guest occupancy limits.

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The Hubbard County Board signaled their readiness to move forward with amendments to county ordinances that address short-term rentals (STR).

On a 4-1 vote at the Monday, Aug. 3 meeting, with county commissioner Dan Stacey opposed, the board authorized County Administrator Jeff Cadwell to give public notice of their intent to vote on the STR amendments at the Tuesday, Aug. 17 meeting.

RELATED: Read the draft amendments to the ordinance here


Stacey suggested holding another public hearing, as suggested by Paul Swenson and Tim O’Neill, both of Nevis, during the public input portion of the Aug. 3 meeting.

Stacey said he agreed with them about “slowing down and making sure we get things right the first time.” Another hearing, he said, might clarify any misunderstanding of the proposed new language.

Upon further discussion, commissioners realized that any delay now would prevent the proposed ordinance from taking effect next year.

Board chair David De La Hunt reminded the board that legal counsel advised them they could approve the ordinance with the minor revisions made at their July meetings. No additional hearings are required.

County commissioner Tom Krueger noted that the Hubbard County Environmental Services Office (ESO) has the flow rates for STRs and that data can be provided to STR owners.

In the proposed ordinance, the overnight guest occupancy is limited to no more than one person for every 75 gallons of water per day that the structure’s sewer system is designed to handle. If there is a holding tank, the occupancy will be limited to no more than one person for every 200 gallons of tank capacity.

“ESO will determine the occupancy of the STR, which will be right on the license,” De La Hunt said. “So it’s not like the STR owner or the neighbor has to do this calculation.”


De La Hunt pointed out there has been a year-and-a-half of review with the planning commission and county board, with multiple public hearings and opportunities for public comment. “Is another public hearing significantly going to change the scope of what we’re doing here? Or are we just going to continue to delay this process?” he asked.

Krueger agreed that the ordinance has been thoughtfully vetted. It can always be modified in the future, he added. “It’s time for a decision.”

Cadwell said a delay would make it unlikely that the ESO could take STR licence applications before May 1, 2022 and implement the ordinance next year.

Cadwell also clarified that the STR ordinance does not suggest that a single noise complaint would cause an STR license to be revoked. He noted that the county sheriff will not respond to a single noise complaint either, but rather multiple complaints.

Krueger said that 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. are common quiet hours at resorts and campgrounds. The proposed ordinance would require the same quiet hours at an STR.

Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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