Ashwaubenon mulls very short-term rentals

Richard Ryman
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ASHWAUBENON – Transient residential facilities are a "thorny issue" in the village and will remain so for another couple of months.

Milwaukee native Michael Holton turned a house on Shadow Lane into a Green Bay Packers-themed vacation home for his family. The living room offers a view of Lambeau Field.

The village Plan Commission opened discussion Tuesday about how to regulate TRFs, but came to no conclusions.

Transient residential facilities (TRFs) differ from party houses as Ashwaubenon defines them. Party houses are used by their owners, usually only occupied on days of events, such as Green Bay Packers games, as opposed to being rented. Ashwaubenon has about nine approved party houses, mostly near Lambeau Field.

TRFs can be owner-occupied or not, but are rented all or in part for special events. They can be much like bed-and-breakfast establishments or only occupied when leased for events.

As nearly as the village can determine, there are six TRFs within its borders, only two of which are properly permitted, which means, among other things, those two pay room tax on their rentals. The village discovered several by checking websites such as Airbnb and HomeAway.

Among solutions, the village could put a zoning overlay on neighborhoods where it thinks TRFs should be permitted, which Village President Mike Aubinger initially favored, but he now fears would result in the entire overlay area becoming TRFs rather quickly. Or the board could restrict the number of TRFs that could be in a given block, but that could discriminate against neighbors.

"Just so we're not limited if the opportunity comes for us," said Carolyn Waring, who lives on Blue Ridge Drive, adjacent to the Green Bay Packers' Titletown District.

Commission member Mike Skiffington said that could be a difficult way to go.

"I don't know how you can go down the row and say yes, yes, no," he said.

Village trustee and commission member Mary Kardoskee would like to limit the number of TRFs, while Gary Paul would like to see better enforcement and a way for residents to "know who you are going to wake up next to."

Aubinger and village trustee Mark Williams want to protect residential neighborhoods.

"I urge the committee to remember we are losing a lot of residential homes. We want to try to keep residents in their houses," Williams said.

Commission members weren't ready to make a decision Tuesday, but Aubinger promised they'd have more chances, including at the panel's next meeting.

"I'm going to be a persistent pain about this," he said.

Contact and follow him on Twitter @RichRymanPG, onInstagram at rrymanpgor on Facebook at Richard Ryman-Press-Gazette. Or call him at (920) 431-8342.

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