As of December 1, vacation rentals, such as Airbnb, in Riverside will be confined to the two business districts in the village.

On Sept. 20 the Riverside Village Board voted 5 to 0 to approve an ordinance limiting vacation rentals, more commonly known as Airbnb or VRBO rentals, to the village’s two business districts effectively putting the village’s only current Airbnb listing, located in the 100 block of Michaux Road, out of business on Dec. 1 when the current license expires.

“They are allowed to rent it out until Nov. 30 or until they hit 60 days’ worth of rentals,” said Riverside Village Manager Jessica Frances.

Donna Baer, the holder of the village’s only current vacation rental license, declined to comment about the village board’s action. 

Under the new ordinance vacation rentals will be limited to Riverside’s B-1 and B-2 business districts which include the downtown area and some pockets along Harlem Avenue.

Riverside Community Development Director Sonya Apt said that she did not believe there are any single-family homes in the village’s business district so it appears that vacation rentals will be limited to condominiums. Renters are not permitted to rent out their apartment, or any part of their apartment, on a listing such as Airbnb or VRBO.

The village board decided to put strict limits on the extent of vacation rentals. A maximum of two rooms in a residence can be rented and no more than two people, not counting children 12 and under, can occupy a room. At no time can there be more than six people in a vacation rental.

“I would say this time err on the side of caution,” said Trustee Joseph Ballerine who had been a strong advocate of vacation rentals.

The Planning and Zoning Commission will now amend the zoning code to disallow vacation rentals in residential districts. The Planning and Zoning Commission will also hold a hearing to consider making those seeking a vacation rental license obtain a special use permit which would require a hearing and notifying all property owners within a 250 foot radius of the property of the time and date of the hearing. The village board must also approve each special use permit.

One condominium owner in the business district has inquired about obtaining a vacation rental license.

“We have received an inquiry of another property that is located within the business district, but we have not issued any type of license,” Frances said.

Riverside first began allowing vacation rentals last year in an effort to boost the local economy and promote Riverside as a tourist attraction in itself and as a beautiful, historic, and convenient place to stay for tourists visiting Chicago.

But many complained that Baer’s home was being used as event space rather than just as a place for tourists to sleep at night.  Earlier this month nearly 300 residents signed an online petition opposing vacation rentals in Riverside’s residential areas.

“I think the board had in mind a certain kind of vacation rental when it went into this,” Village President Ben Sells said. “But sometimes you try things and they don’t work out and you have to go back and revise what you do and that’s basically what the board did.”

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