By Shelby Stewart
Brandon Twp.- On Monday night the township board of trustees voted to adopt an amendment to modify Ordinance Sec. 46-6 definitions to include transient. It was passed in a 4-3 vote.
Trustees Scott Broughton, Dana DePalma and Robert Marshall voted against adopting the definition while Kris Kordella, trustee; Terri Darnall, treasurer; Kathy Thurman, supervisor and Candee Allen, clerk voted in favor of the definition.
The new definition of transient means occupancy of a dwelling unit or sleeping unit for not more than 30 days. This means that a person must reside in a single-family residence for at least 30 days should they intend to occupy it. This definition takes effect Jan. 22.
“It seems there are a lot of misconceptions about what the board is doing by defining the word transient in our ordinance,” said Thurman. “We are not determining whether or not we will be allowing transients in our residential zoning. Our residential zoning already does not allow transients.”
This definition also means that under the current ordinance of a single-family home, and the definition of family which specifies that they are ‘non-transient’, a house may not be rented out for less than 30 days, which would prohibit short-term homes rented for vacationers. There are currently only three homes listed for short-term rentals on the popular vacation rental website AirBnB within Brandon Township.
“My understanding is that from the last meeting and the meeting before last, that we’ve had less than five complaints about people in a neighborhood that the residents did not know,” said trustee Marshall. “I don’t see where we need to be putting a new law or a new definition that will impact other laws just because people think there’s strangers in their neighborhood.”
In addition, this definition would affect the ordinances pertaining to campgrounds, which specify that they are for transient use only, meaning that a camper cannot stay for more than 30 days with the new definition.
“I have a concern what happens after the fact, where does this lead to?” said trustee DePalma. “If we pass this, that means no one can stay at the campground more than 30 days. I know some people who do stay there, not in the mobile home part, I’m talking about the campers, for more than 30 days. I do not want to see their business hurt because of this because some people might stay there for the summer in a camper.”
After the decision, DePalma asked that the township building manager do something to protect the Clearwater Campground’s business.