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January 26, 2020

Evan J. pretzer/lakeland times

Oneida County Planning and Zoning Director Karl Jennrich discusses new rental options with county officials.
Evan J. pretzer/lakeland times

Oneida County Planning and Zoning Director Karl Jennrich discusses new rental options with county officials.
10/24/2017 7:29:00 AM
Oneida County adjusting to rental policy change
Area leaders exploring more regulations, potential licensing for homeowners
By Evan J. Pretzer
of the lakeland times

With supervisors Billy Fried and Dave Hintz absent, the Oneida County Planning and Development Committee had zoning director Karl Jennrich present options to the group during their Oct. 18 meeting which could lessen issues arising from short-term rentals in the area.

As previously reported, the regulations under which one wanting to rent out their home to strangers had to follow received a significant overhaul when the state budget was signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker last month. Previously, property owners residing in single-family residential zoning districts couldn't rent out a place for fewer than 30 days.

Now, they can. Under the provision added in late to the budget, property owners can rent out their homes to tourists or other individuals for seven consecutive days or longer.

Any existing ordinances regarding this matter became invalid and local municipalities are now banned from restricting rent periods of seven days or more. Before the change was instituted, many in northern Wisconsin governmental positions voiced their displeasure at the idea. Claiming the problems it could cause like septic tank backup were not considered.

"This was not well thought out. The way the language has been put into the bill did not deal with the issue in any manner where anybody would have the ability to deal with the issues which could be created out of this problem," said Vilas County supervisor Jay Verhulst in a meeting of the Vilas County zoning committee in September.

Ultimately, the change did pass in spite of some local government opposition. Though more rentals are expected to happen in the future, Jennrich did find some things Oneida County and other areas could do to mitigate any impact from the expected boom.

"What this does for Oneida County essentially is basically state you can't really regulate [the rentals]. But, it does leave the door open for prohibiting weekend rentals or anything of seven consecutive days or less," he said.

"When I found out about this I also looked at rentals near Lambeau Field. They're in the process of licensing short- term rentals. They got sick of people coming in for games and partying like rock stars. Now, they charge a $500 fee for a renters license application and then require a further individual fee on a yearly basis," Jennrich said.

In response to his view of both options being recommended for Oneida County, supervisors Jack Sorensen and Scott Holewinski asked whether existing renters would have to get a license before working with their properties in the future.

Jennrich said he did not know if this would be the case or if they would be grandfathered in. Before making the claim, he did not consult with county attorneys but promised to do so before proposing any sort of plan in future meetings.

As the meeting drew to a close - and with Fried and Hintz absent - the committee excused Jennrich, took no action on his proposals and urged him to come back with more information at a future meeting.

"I'd like to see more information brought forth. We're operating at 60 percent today and this is not good for making important decisions. This will be a future agenda item to be sure, but we need to decide how far down the road we want to go with it," supervisor Jack Sorensen said.

Evan J. Pretzer may be reached via email at

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