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Short-Term Rental Debate Doesn’t Change In Study Committee

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A study committee’s proposed recommendations on short-term rentals through sites like Airbnb include broad policy statements for the General Assembly to consider next session. But the recommendations don’t include specific legislative language, and likely don’t change debate on the issue.

Legislation last session to bar local governments from banning short-term rentals failed to pass.

A study committee’s proposed recommendations say the state should ensure locals don’t impose “undue restrictions” on rentals through sites like Airbnb – no different than last session’s bill. Committee chair Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper) says certain areas of the state do have special needs, such as those along Lake Michigan – which he says the 2017 measure acknowledged.

“There was exemption for Ogden Dunes type scenarios, for homeowners associations, and similar type groups like the lake owners association that was here last week,” Messmer says.

Messmer says those same exemptions should be in next session’s bill.

Critics, such as Rep. Carey Hamilton (D-Indianapolis), argue the recommendations erode local control. And she says the study committee didn’t change the debate.

“We heard great testimony from folks on both sides of the issue but ultimately the issues are the same,” Hamilton says.

The 2018 session begins in early January.

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