Vacation rentals limited to two business districts in Riverside, Illinois

Illinois: Vacation rentals such as Airbnb in Riverside will be confined to two business districts in the village from 1 December.

The Riverside Village Board last week voted unanimously to approve an ordinance limiting vacation rentals like Airbnb to the village’s two business districts, which will effectively put the village’s only Airbnb listing out of business when the lease expires on 1 December.

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

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

The new ordinance will limit vacation rentals to Riverside’s B-1 and B-2 business districts, which include the downtown area and some areas along Harlem Avenue.

Riverside Community Development Director Sonya Apt said she did not believe there were any existing single-family homes in the village’s business district so vacation rentals would be restricted to condominiums. Under the new regulations, renters will not be permitted to lease their apartment on a listing such as Airbnb.

The village board decided to put stringent limits on the outreach of vacation rentals. A maximum of two rooms in a residence can be rented and no more than two people over the age of 12 can occupy a room. At no time can there be more than six people in a vacation rental.

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

The Planning and Zoning Commission will amend the zoning code to outlaw vacation rentals in residential districts. It 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 a notification sent to all property owners nearby of the time and date of the hearing.

One condo owner in the business district has enquired about obtaining a vacation rental license.

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

Riverside initially began allowing vacation rentals last year as a means of boosting the local economy and promoting Riverside as a tourist attraction for tourists visiting Chicago.

However, residents complained Baer’s home was being used as event space in addition to a place for tourists to sleep at night. The consequent furore led to nearly 300 residents signing an online petition this month opposing vacation rentals in Riverside’s residential areas.

Village President Ben Sells said: “I think the board had in mind a certain kind of vacation rental when it went into this, 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.”