Vacation rentals might be regulated


Last updated 1/25/2024 at 12:38am | View PDF

The Hinsdale Village Board Tuesday agreed to ask the plan commission to look at new regulations for short-term rentals in the village.

The proposed ordinance change would set a six-month minimum for rental homes, including those booked through services such as Airbnb or VRBO. As part of its process, the plan commission will hold a public hearing, but a handful of residents spoke out Tuesday night.

Michelle Crowe, who lives at 200 S. Bodin St., said some 20 groups rented the house next door through Airbnb between Thanksgiving of 2022 and St. Patrick’s Day of 2023.

“At first it was just a nuisance. Then as the bookings picked up, and they were cycling through sometimes two groups in a weekend, it became really unsettling and at times quite frightening,” she said, citing one large Super Bowl party and garbage piling up in the alley. “We didn’t buy next to a hotel, certainly not one without a security staff.”

Since then, new owners of the home are renting it out for six months at a time with no incidents.

“I urge you to adopt this amendment, to clearly communicate it to the real estate investment community and to make the fines onerous enough that no one will just roll it into their cost of doing business,” Crowe said.

Ashley Hill, whose family has owned the home at 822 W. Eighth St. for four generations, said the community needs to have rental options when people are between closings or undergoing home renovation projects or emergency repairs.

“We are all very happy that you are allowing this topic to go through the planning and zoning commission,” she said. “We all live in a changing society. Your draft is a good starting point, but we hope for some more flexibility from the village.”

A man who manages two Airbnbs on Justina Street said a six-month minimum could hinder Hinsdale residents’ ability to stay in town if, for example, home repairs won’t take that long. He said the renters of the Justina homes each have been there more than six weeks.

“These people I stay in contact with are very nice,” he said. “They follow rules. I think it’s beneficial for a lot of people.”

Village President Tom Cauley suggested the plan commission look at whether exceptions might be made for Hinsdale residents. Trustee Alexis Braden wondered if the village could require an application for homeowners who want to rent their homes on a short-term basis. Trustee Scott Banke, who noted that having an Airbnb is the equivalent of running a business, asked whether any licenses are required.

“This is kind of unchartered territory, and that’s the very reason the plan commission is going to consider it,” community development director Robb McGinnis said.

Cauley invited the residents to attend the plan commission’s public hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. That matter ultimately will come back for the village board for final approval.

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean


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