housing

Whitewater Township

The Whitewater Township board has rejected a plan to allow short-term rentals. The proposal would have allowed residents to build new structures on their lots and rent them out on websites like AirBnb.

The idea came from the township planning commission but it was met with resistance from the community. Residents circulated a petition against the plan and presented it to the board at a meeting Tuesday night.

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The argument over short-term rentals has come to Whitewater township. The township’s planning commission wants to relax zoning rules so new rentals can be built on existing residential lots.

Under a new proposal, residents who own at least 30,000 square feet of land could build a second structure on their property. The new structure could be up to 1,200 square feet in size.

The proposal would allow homeowners to rent their new structures on websites like AirBnB.

But township supervisor Ron Popp says it’s a bad idea.

David Cassleman

Updated June 6, 3:45 p.m. with more details on the proposal. 

More people in Traverse City would be allowed to rent out rooms on websites like Airbnb under a proposal approved by the city planning commission Tuesday night. 

This is the time of year when For Sale signs start popping up with the spring crocuses and tulips. But the home-buying season might be a challenge this year in Grand Rapids, despite high home prices.

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Airbnb

It’s becoming easier and easier to rent out your home through websites like Airbnb and VRBO. But short-term vacation rentals are illegal in many areas Up North, including in much of Traverse City. 

Detroit residents will soon vote for mayor, city council, and other offices. What do they want for the future of the city? The MorningSide neighborhood reflects the rest of the city well. So, how well do the priorities of the residents align with the candidates vying to represent them on city council?

Actually, they align surprisingly well. We talked with a dozen residents of MorningSide. One of their top concerns was abandoned houses.

Michigan earned a lot more in taxes from Airbnb rentals this summer than was initially projected. 

"In just three months, it’s meant nearly $1 million to the state Department of Revenue," says Ben Breit, the Midwest press secretary for Airbnb, "which obviously benefits the entire state and hopefully all the municipalities."

The Next Idea

Michigan and other states are having an increasingly hard time finding qualified people to work in construction. The perception that construction careers are dirty, hard, and dangerous plays a big part in the labor shortage.

Brindley Byrd, executive director of the Michigan Construction Foundation, wants to help people find careers in construction by marketing the Michigan Construction "brand" and connecting people to resources like educational training programs.

The clock is ticking on homeowners in Wayne County who received tax foreclosure notices. They have until June 7 to either pay their taxes or sign up for a payment plan.

DargaWorks

A new four-story apartment building is prompting questions about the future of Traverse City’s Warehouse District.

DargaWorks wants to build a multi-use development called “Warehouse Flats” on what is now a parking lot at Garland Street and North Union. DargaWorks says the proposed 59-foot building would provide workforce housing and a public parking garage.

City of Traverse City

Traverse City planners say the city's laws on short-term vacation rentals are outdated.

The current rules outlaw renting your home for less than 30 days, unless you're an approved "tourist home." A tourist home is like a traditional bed and breakfast. The law says you can rent a room in your house for up to a week, but you must be present in the home and you must get a license first.

But City Planner Missy Luick says the popularity of websites like Airbnb has led many people to rent rooms illegally.

 

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero has taken an unusual step – he’s declared a housing emergency in the Capitol city.

The declaration comes after a south side Lansing hotel informed dozens and dozens of residents they’ll be evicted in just the next few weeks.