Letter to the Editor: Sharing Our Beautiful County

Door County is a major tourist area. We know this, and most of us embrace and derive our income from it. I do, too, as a contractor who lives in Sevastopol and works on the water-supplying access to that resource, our greatest up here. 

An evolving trend is Short Term Rentals (STRs), a hospitality concept that lets people stay in local housing units and allows families to stay together for a memorable Door County experience. 

However, let me emphasize the word “short.” The majority of tourists – people who, by the way, have no voice or votes in local government – stay for a short period of time, three to four days being average. This rental trend enables existing and new property owners to supplement their income, which is used to hire contractors like me, provide employment and increase revenue in our community through room taxes. The Town of Sevastopol wants to limit STRs to one stay per six days, probably ending most STRs in our township.

I understand that some people don’t like increased use in their neighborhood because of parking, noise and water-quality concerns. But let me make one thing perfectly clear: All responsible property owners are concerned about this. Let’s address those specific, infrequent instances in which any property owner is irresponsible, without singling out STRs. Let’s talk about new methods for enforcement and accountability. 

For example, I don’t particularly like the farmer who just spread manure on the field next door; however, I know through efforts by Rep. Joel Kitchens and others, he must follow specific guidelines to spread it. Those efforts protect our water quality, allowing that farmer to generate an income and put food on your table and mine. 

The same process should apply here: Enforce the nuisance ordinances across the board and seek solutions, while still enabling the rest of us to generate an income and provide opportunities for the tourists who enjoy our beautiful county. Is that so hard? Let’s not turn into a selfish community of NIMBYs who want to raise the bridges. 

Mike Kahr 

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin