RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) – Saturday, Feb. 3, was Lawrence County’s first Legislative Cracker Barrel, and with that came some discussion about issues specifically impacting the Northern Hills Area.
One issue was how to regulate short-term rentals like Airbnb and VRBO. The legislators from District 31 had slight differences of opinion on how to accomplish that regulation but agreed that it would be best handled at the city and county level.
“Most of our land is public land we rely on tourism but we need to respond to the housing shortage that we have. We can’t take away from the school teachers police officers and people that need housing cause they’re being gobbled up by Airbnbs and vacation rentals,” said Senator Randy Deibert of District 31.
“Well, I think they’re gonna be forced into doing that if they’re not already now. I think Lawrence County should probably step up and start planning some ordinances for that also it’s becoming an important issue where a huge vacation spot here and I think we need to lay down the rules so we know what’s applicable and what isn’t,” said Rep. Mary Fitzgerald of District 31.
“I’ve been telling all these committee members, we need to choose homeowners over hedge funds, and there was a lot of testimony during the bill where they kept referring to this as an industry. And I guess I don’t see homeownership as a commodity, something to be commodified and turned into an industry,” said Rep. Scott Odenbach of District 31.
Right now there are no plans to address this issue at the state level but legislators were confident that cities like Spearfish could follow Lead and Deadwood in regulating these rentals.
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