Owners of a short-term-rental (STR) property on Glidden Drive in Sevastopol will pay the town a $15,000 fine, plus the town’s publication costs and attorney fees.
The STR property owners have also upgraded the septic-tank system at the 4248 Glidden Drive property and submitted a new maximum-parking plan.
Those conditions are part of the settlement agreement reached between the town and STR owners Gregory Pawloski, Victoria Pawloski and Garth Kolterjahn, doing business as Kupaki Holdings.
“We believe this [agreement] will address the public concerns and those we have at the town,” said Dan Woelfel, town board chair, during the Jan. 16 meeting when the Sevastopol Town Board unanimously approved the settlement agreement.
Sevastopol supervisor and Plan Commission chair Linda Wait called the agreement “reasonable and justifiable” in light of the complaints about, and the violations that took place, at the STR in 2022. Primary among those, Woelfel said, was over-occupancy.
Sevastopol’s STR ordinance, adopted on July 19, 2021, allows STR property owners to rent the property only once every seven days between renters, and it regulates items such as noise, parking, trash and pets. Also contained within the ordinance are occupancy maximums that protect groundwater resources by not overloading a private, on-site wastewater-treatment system.
The STR owners admitted in the settlement agreement that they had violated the town’s ordinance pertaining to over-occupancy, but they did not agree to any other violations.
Glidden Drive residents have complained that Granicus – a software firm that serves as the town’s third-party administrator for the STR ordinance – monitors ordinance compliance, but it doesn’t provide remedies to problems as they’re happening – “and the party still goes on,” said Jean Elste, president of the Glidden Drive Association. Elste said those parties have included a wedding at the rental property, with shuttles dropping off guests and Glidden Drive lined with cars.
Wait said that all neighbors within 200 feet of an STR property, according to the town’s ordinance, receive a written notice with the STR agent’s name, address, phone number and email address.
“If there is a complaint, that person is supposed to be available,” Wait said.
If Granicus can’t provide an immediate remedy, the company does register all the complaints and alleged violations, which Wait said the town looks at when renewing the STR license.
“So even if you didn’t get satisfaction, you need to file the complaints,” Wait said. “Repeat offenders are going to be addressed.”
The town is also looking at fine-tuning its STR ordinance.
“We’re still on the learning curve,” Wait said. “We’re making a list and checking it twice and can see the Plan Commission amending the ordinance.”
Some of the issues that have arisen that may be further regulated in the town’s STR ordinance pertain to camping, parties, assemblies, bonfires and assurance that the owner or the owner’s agent “must respond” to complaints, Wait said.
Woelfel urged residents to call the fire department with concerns about bonfires.
“If there’s that kind of issue, they’ll send a truck out, and if [the bonfire] shouldn’t be there, they’ll put it out,” he said.
Hugh Zettel, the town’s representative on the Door County Board of Supervisors, said there may be issues with large gatherings that are violating existing county zoning ordinances, and those apply to the town.
“No one anticipated an STR would be used as a venue for a 50-plus[-person] wedding,” he said, which makes it an “abuse of zoning.” He urged the town to work with the county’s Land Use Services department for zoning-adjustment suggestions that could make the town’s ordinance easier to enforce.
Woelfel said they’re hoping the settlement they’ve reached to correct the problem STR will send a signal to other STR owners who decide not to follow the town’s ordinance.
“We’re going to take a difficult and tough stance on this,” he said.