The Waunakee Village Board Monday urged staff to begin licensing all short-term rental operators, or Airbnb owners, sooner than later.

Staff is now drafting the applications for short-term rental operators to fill out. They should be ready for applicants by Oct. 15 with public hearings to follow and licenses to take effect Dec. 1. The first year licenses will span from Dec. 1, 2019, to Dec. 31, 2020, with the future periods from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31.

At its Sept. 16, the village board voted to adopt regulations drafted by the Town of Westport’s attorney, administrator and clerk-treasurer, Tom Wilson, with some amendments. Those regulations require all Airbnb’s rented out for more than 10 times per year to:

-be the primary residence of the owner;

-be rented for a minimum of six consecutive days by each guest and be rented out for no more 180 days per year;

-have a state of Wisconsin Tourism Rooming House License as well as a Department of Revenue seller’s permit;

-be licensed annually by the village.

- pay a room tax.

An initial public hearing for short-term rentals will be required. Also, swimming pools or hot tubs will not be allowed unless they meet commercial standards, are licensed and meet all standard testing required for use in a commercial hotel, according to the regulations.

Village Attorney Bryan Kleinmaier said the ordinance was very restrictive.

“I have looked at a number of the short-term rental ordinances in the state, and I have helped other communities adopt them. I have not seen an ordinance that is more restrictive than the one that Westport has adopted and the one that’s before you,” Kleinmaier said.

Kleinmaier said he saw in emails that a problem had arose over the weekend with a short-term rental.

Such problems that occur at an Airbnb prior to its license application can be taken in account when considering whether to grant that license, he said.

Kleinmaier made clear that currently, the incident at the short-term rental was alleged.

But he added that such activity could also provide a basis for revoking a license.

“Right now, we don’t have anything governing us here. And let’s just assume that the house, it sits on a cul de sac with houses right around it, has a party, and at the party are 20-year-olds that just rented it…and we have six hours of police time that the taxpayers have to pay for. I’m in favor of making sure we don’t have that situation in Waunakee,” said Village President Chris Zellner.

Such concerns also led to village board members to direct staff to require registered guests provide their date of birth, along with other information.

Board members also made clear that only guests of the rental would be allowed at events at short-term rentals.

Trustee Bill Ranum asked if staff were aware of how many short-term rentals are operating. Clerk Caitlin Stene said village officials are aware of two that came forward at the public hearing.

Homes can be rented out short term up to 10 times per year without a license, Kleinmaier noted.

“If you don’t like this, please write to your legislators to see what can be done,” Zellner urged.

Village board members adopted the ordinance with three amendments, requiring that only registered guests attend events at short-term rentals, that a date of birth be provided for registered guests and that the initial license term span from Dec. 1, 2019 to Dec. 31, 2020.

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