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Zoning board decision on vacation renters delayed

Andy Ouriel • Nov 19, 2011 at 11:02 AM

Several Sandusky homeowners may have to wait another month before learning if they can continue renting out their homes to tourists. 

In August, city officials told 12 property owners they were violating Sandusky’s zoning code by letting vacationers pay to stay at their homes.

The city ordered them to stop the practice immediately, and even threatened them with criminal charges if they persisted.

The majority of the homes are located on Cedar Point Drive and Curran Street.

Among the city’s gripes: Not all renters pay bed taxes when they shack up in the vacation homes.

The homeowners were hoping the city’s zoning appeals board would decide Thursday to let them continue renting the homes, but that decision has been delayed. 

The board could schedule a special meeting to make a decision, or it could simply wait until the next scheduled meeting on Dec. 15.

“We want to make sure we do it right,” board member John Feick said. “I don’t want to end up going to court.”

City officials could very well find themselves in court if they don’t follow the law, said local attorney Barry Vermeeren.

Vermeeren represents three homeowners who were ordered to stop renting to tourists. He says his clients should be allowed to rent out their homes.

“Our zoning code, the way it’s written, says (the city) cannot prohibit the rental of these properties,” Vermeeren said. “The law is in our code. This board needs to follow the law.”

One of the property owners, Joseph Viviano, filed a lawsuit in Erie County Common Pleas Court shortly after the city sent out letters ordering the property owners to stop renting out their homes.

Viviano says the city’s order violates his constitutional rights. There have been no developments in his court case since October.

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