In Two Harbors, ordinance restricts camper sharing
Toni Rannetsberger was thrilled to buy a brand-new 22-foot Wolf Pup camper in March of last year. But within a few months, she and her husband realized it sat in their Two Harbors backyard most of the time.
“We had planned to take it out every weekend,” she said. “Life happens. We get busy.”
So Rannetsberger, a veterinary technician, listed the camper on Airbnb as a dog-friendly short-term rental, knowing such spaces are hard to come by on the North Shore in the summer. She would tow the camper to a nearby state park or campground, or guests could stay right on her property.
But the city of Two Harbors isn’t keen on that last idea.
In a new short-term rental ordinance passed last week outlining rules for garbage, noise, parking and other parameters, the City Council included language to say that recreational vehicles (RVs) cannot be rented within city limits except in designated campgrounds.
While it was already a violation of the city’s zoning code to occupy a recreational vehicle in a backyard, the new ordinance spells it out clearly for rentals.
Residents who rent out their RVs at a campground in the city should get an annual rental permit from the city and pay a 3 percent lodging tax, just like other short-term rentals in town, officials said.
In the booming sharing economy, renting out campers for overnight guests isn’t new. Airbnb doesn’t have hard data on the number of campers available for rent across the country, according to a representative.
RVShare.com, founded five years ago in Ohio, now serves more than 60,000 RV owners nationwide, mostly renting vehicles out for cross-country trips.
Rannetsberger had 13 renters for her RV over the course of four months last season, four of whom opted to stay in her yard. Renting covered the monthly payments for the camper all summer, she said. Now she’s advertising her camper solely as a “hauled to campground” endeavor — the guests must make the camping reservation, and Rannetsberger will deliver it and set it up for them to use.
She already has five bookings for this season.
“Everyone’s been wonderful with the camper. ... We had quite a few people be surprised that we would rent it out because it is brand-new,” Rannetsberger said. “We just want people to get up here, enjoy the outdoors, get the North Shore experience, bring your dogs and not have to worry about it.”
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