Sister Bay: Village Adopts Short-Term-Rental Ordinance

Sister Bay became the latest community to adopt an ordinance regulating short-term rental (STR) units when it passed an ordinance March 23. 

The ordinance imposes a $500-per-unit fee on STRs – much less than the $2,500 fee the board discussed during an earlier meeting, but still the highest in the county. The ordinance also requires operators to maintain a valid tourist rooming house license with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; register with the state as a business; and obtain a business tax registration number, or contract with a resident agent. Renters must also either live within 30 miles of the rental unit or contract with a manager who does. 

In February, the village investigated whether it could charge a larger fee, with a portion going to investments in affordable housing as well as to offset the cost of increased demands on village services. Lake Geneva attempted to impose heftier fees for short-term rentals in 2018, but it eventually lowered its fee from $2,000 to $750, and then to $400 in response to multiple legal challenges. 

Administrator Search Continues

The village continues to search for a new administrator and zoning administrator more than six months after the departure of the previous administrator, Beau Bernhoft. He had held the position for two years, but before that, the village went for 18 months without filling the position. The village has posted a salary range of $95,000-$125,000 in hopes of attracting a high-quality candidate. 

The village has also posted an opening for a zoning administrator. Previously zoning responsibilities fell to the village administrator, but as development pressure has grown, the board hopes to split the roles. 

Interested candidates should email a résumé, including a summary of qualifications, cover letter and professional references, to [email protected].