ORDINANCE NO. __________



The city of Duluth does ordain:

Section 1. That Section 29A-32 of the Duluth City Code, 1959, as amended, be amended to read as follows:

Sec. 29A-32. Licenses--terms and conditions.

(a) Each license shall be displayed in a conspicuous place within the common way or entrance of the dwelling and shall state the name and address of the owner and the person or managing agency which is managing the dwelling. The building official shall also determine the required number of off street parking spaces and shall display such information on the license. No license shall be transferred to another dwelling or rental unit;
(b) If there is a change in either ownership or management of a dwelling, the person or agency managing such dwelling prior to such change in ownership or management shall give written notice of the name and address of the new owner and/or manager to the building official;
(c) A new license shall be issued to the dwelling for the remainder of the license period with the name of the new manager and/or owner upon payment of the required fee and submission of all required application forms;
(d) Except as otherwise provided, in areas zoned R-1-a, R-1-b or R-1-c, no license shall be issued for any dwelling, structure, rooming house, rental unit or housekeeping unit, within a distance of 300 feet from any other licensed dwelling, structure, rooming house, rental unit or housekeeping unit located within the same block; provided, that no more than one licensed dwelling, structure, rooming house, rental unit or housekeeping unit shall be permitted within a block containing an area of 120,000 square feet or less. The distance restriction shall not apply to a two-family dwelling as defined by Chapter 50-1.20 in which an owner thereof occupies one of the dwelling units; except that no rental occupancy shall be allowed in such owner occupied dwelling unit;
(e) In areas zoned R-2, R-3 or R-4, no license shall be issued for any single-family dwelling within a distance of 300 feet from any other licensed single-family dwelling located within the same block; provided that no more than one licensed single-family dwelling shall be permitted within a block containing an area of 120,000 square feet or less;
(f) Any licensed one-family or two-family dwellings in areas zoned R-1-a, R-1-b or R-1-c shall provide a minimum of two off street parking spaces. In addition, for each additional bedroom in excess of three, there shall be provided one additional off street parking space. All off street parking spaces shall comply with the standards for off street parking set forth in Chapter 50-26. The number of required off street parking spaces shall be determined by the building official at the time of licensure;
(g) Any licensed dwelling, structure, rooming house, rental unit or housekeeping unit lawfully existing on [date ordinance goes into effect] may be continued, even though such use does not conform to the provisions of this Chapter. If the license for such non-conforming use is revoked or lapses for any period of time, any subsequent licensed use must comply with all provisions of this Chapter;
(h) In a residentially (R) zoned district, the distance restrictions set out in (d) and (e) above shall not apply to a dwelling when a short-term rental license is in effect for that dwelling. Except as otherwise provided, the building official may issue a short-term license for a dwelling for a period not to exceed 12 consecutive months. A short-term license for any dwelling shall not be issued more frequently than once in any three year period. A short-term license shall be applied for in the same manner as other rental licenses. Except as provided in this paragraph (h), all rental licensing requirements and conditions apply to a dwelling for which a short term license has been issued, or applied for. A short-term license may be issued for any single-family or two-family dwelling when the following additional standards have been met:
(1) The owner is the occupant of the dwelling unit at the time of application; and
(2) For professional, educational or military service reasons the owner intends to reside in another community located at least 50 miles from the dwelling unit; and
(3) The owner provides to the building official sufficient evidence of his/her intention to temporarily relocate and then return to occupy the dwelling or to sell the dwelling. Such evidence may include, but is not limited to, a written offer of employment, an employment transfer directive, a letter of acceptance from an educational institution or military orders.

The building official may extend a short term license for an additional six month period, provided that an application for extension is received prior to the expiration of the short term license, and that adequate evidence justifying the extension as necessary to avoid expense or hardship to the owner is submitted with the application. The building official shall act upon an application for extension within 15 business days of delivery of the application.

The action of the building official is subject to appeal as provided in Section 29A-34.

Section 2. That this ordinance shall take effect and be in force 30 days from and after its passage and publication.

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE:  This ordinance provides for dispersal of single family rental occupancy located in residential areas. The city planning commission identified the rapid rate at which single family owner occupied dwellings are being converted into rental occupancies as negatively impacting residential neighborhoods. The rate of conversion is an unforeseen result of changes in homestead property tax laws. The ability to command high rents pushes up the value of these homes. As a result, moderate income families seeking to purchase a single family home are unable to compete with income property investors. Consequently, these families seek affordable housing in other communities. The resulting rental occupancy is often more dense than a family occupancy and affects the character of the residential neighborhood. This amendment continues to allow single family rental occupancy but disburses such occupancy in order to preserve the character of residential neighborhoods and increase the pool of affordable single family homes for moderate income families.

Off street parking was identified as a need in areas zones R-1. As occupancy levels increase with the conversion to rental housing, there is a resulting increase in on street parking. These neighborhoods are typically served by the most narrow streets, and the increase in on street parking adds to street congestion and negatively impacts public safety. The increased occupancy levels also result in a shortage of on street parking, and many neighborhoods now experience problems with vehicular parking on yards, across sidewalks, in crosswalks or so close to intersections that traffic and pedestrian safety is negatively impacted. Areas zoned R-1 typically enjoy larger lots which can accommodate off street parking. Thus, the off street parking requirement will not create undue hardship to the new rental license applicant while it serves to protect the essential character of these residential areas.

This amendment was developed after a year long series of meetings of the brown bag committee of the Duluth planning commission. The discussion included participation from a broad range of the community. Neighborhood groups, housing groups, tenant and landlord interests, representatives from local colleges and universities, and city staff from community development, planning, building safety, the fire department and police department participated in these meetings. This amendment is a result of those conversations.

In this replacement, a new provision related to short term licenses and identified as paragraph (h) has been added. It allows an owner, who will be temporarily residing in a different community, to rent their property regardless of the existence of other rental units.