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No Ban On Rental Houses In Houghton

Two more homes in Houghton may soon have renters occupying them after being granted licenses Wednesday by the Rental Housing Board.  It’s a trend in this college town that has many homeowners concerned about the affects on neighborhoods as they become dominated by student rentals.

The Planning Commission presented the City Council with their report on Rental Housing on Wednesday.  The Commission had been tasked with forming a subcommittee to look at certain issues and suggest possible solutions.  Their report stressed that Houghton should provide a welcoming atmosphere for renters and focus on revising ordinances and code enforcement, rather than banning new rental units.

The council voted 5-1 to approve the report from the Planning Commission.

Councilmember Buck Foltz, in his dissenting opinion, called the report “deeply disappointing” and expressed his concerns for the affect rentals have on property values and said residents should have a voice when it comes to not wanting rental units in their neighborhood.  Foltz also suggested that two of the four members of the Planning Commission’s subcommittee may have had conflicts of interest when it came to making their recommendations.

With the council’s approval, the city will work with their attorney to begin reviewing the rental ordinance for possible improvements.  The city has already stepped up enforcement by adding a full-time code enforcement officer.

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