The Sturgeon Bay Common Council gave final approval Jan. 9 to changing the city code as it relates to short-term rentals (STRs), also referred to as tourist rooming houses.
The city’s impetus for changing the code was a potential lawsuit from the Wisconsin Realtors Association (WRA), which sought to repeal a part of the city code that related to who may be permitted to operate an STR.
WRA claimed the previous rule requiring STR owners/operators to reside “within Door, Kewaunee, or Brown Counties during periods in which the tourist rooming house is rented,” unless they have a valid contract with a management company in Door County, was unlawful.
The revised code now allows STR owners/operators or their management companies to reside/be located within a 90-minute drive of the rental.
The City of Sturgeon Bay’s STR license previously required renewal one year after the original application, and then every two years after that. The council approved changing the license period to one year for any new or renewed permit, though the fee will continue to be $100, which is one of the lowest STR license fees among the county’s municipalities.
STR licenses expire June 30 of each year. There are currently more than 100 active STRs within the city.