New Buffalo tightens vacation rental policies | Government and Politics



Vacation rentals skirt stay-at-home order

By the end of the year, New Buffalo hopes to strengthen the city’s existing vacation rental ordinance and increase enforcement, said Mayor Lou O’Donnell IV.




NEW BUFFALO, Mich. — New Buffalo is a popular destination to rent single-family homes for vacations or simply getaway for the weekend.

Some property owners here believe the rental situation is problematic with loud parties and an increase in the number of homes being turned into short-term rentals. 

“This has got to stop. It’s getting out of hand. We have strangers coming every weekend to stay near us not knowing them,” said resident Gabby Sexton.

Louise Valentin said she didn’t realize the problems she would have after her neighbor put in a swimming pool and opened his house to guests during the summer.

“What it ended up turning into is essentially a party house and I’m not exaggerating. This is every weekend,” she said.

The city has begun the process of trying to address the situation.

By the end of the year, the hope is to strengthen the city’s existing vacation rental ordinance and increase enforcement, said Mayor Lou O’Donnell IV.

“This is a work in progress,” he said.

The task seems challenging because the local economy along the shores of Lake Michigan is built on tourism.

Vacation rental owner Heather Grabowski, of New Buffalo, said she respects and agrees with many of the concerns, but too many restrictions could bring financial pain to the community.

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