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Bozeman City Commissioners finalized the rules short-term rentals like Airbnbs have to play by during a regular meeting Monday night.

The commission adopted its ordinance with a 3-2 vote. The new regulations lay the groundwork for the 500 to 550 short-term rentals city staff estimate are operating in Bozeman — though they say the number of rentals vary depending on the time of year.

Commissioners I-Ho Pomeroy and Jeff Krauss sided against the new regulations. Mayor Carson Taylor, Commissioner Chris Mehl and Deputy Mayor Cyndy Andrus voted to accept the ordinance.

Soon after the vote, commissioners also passed the fees homeowners will face to use their property as a short-term rental.

“We’ll have a chance to look at these every year,” Mehl said, referring to possible adjustments to the fees in the future.

The new rules come with a $250 annual registration fee and a one-time $225 fire inspection fee. Some homeowners will also see a $1,508 fee for an administrative conditional use permit.

The rules will go into effect Dec. 1. Once the ordinance kicks into place, there will be a 60-day grace period for owners to meet compliance.

Under the ordinance, short-term rentals are placed in three categories. Rentals that are owner occupied, whether the owner is there during the time of the rental or not, are allowed in most types of residential zoning districts.

The ordinance forbids short-term rentals that aren’t owner-occupied at any time within Bozeman’s residential districts. However, it’s possible for people who have been operating in those areas prior to Jan. 1 to be grandfathered in.

City Planner Chris Saunders said the fees attached to short-term rentals aren’t a revenue builder, but a way to balance the program’s cost.

Saunders said the money will cover the city resources it takes to process applications, monitor the regulations, respond to complaints, inspect rentals and follow through on any needed enforcement actions.

During Monday’s public comment, a few people expressed concern over the cost impact the ordinance could have for homeowners who rely on the additional income and renters looking for affordable housing.

Deanna Campbell said some homeowners that offer short-term rentals might be trying to balance the cost of living in Bozeman.

“Let’s think about the people in these neighborhoods who are not wealthy,” Campbell said.

Mayor Carson Taylor said he appreciated the time and energy put into crafting the ordinance.

He said part of the reason he supported the fee increases was because of their importance to public safety.

“I know a lot of the older houses, some of which are in demand for this kind of market, don’t have some of the fire-safety features that some of the newer homes have,” Taylor said.

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