Renting Your Single Family Home In A Zoned Residential Township Is Illegal: Traverse City Edition

Tuesday , 7, July 2015 2 Comments

Yes, this is a Steve Ingersoll story.

While skimming through news sources to stay in touch with current events in Northern Michigan, an article from the Traverse City News Ticker caused the Up North Progressive to pause. The title of the article, “Summer’s here … And So Are (Illegal) Rentals In TC.” describes a growing problem in the Traverse City area – people illegally putting up their residential homes for rent during the busy summer season.

As the city continues to grow in popularity, more Traverse City visitors are heading to popular online sites VBRO and AirBnB to find accommodations – someone else’s house, apartment or condo.
Hundreds of one, two and three-night minimum rentals can be found in town. The problem is, many of these walking-distance-to-everything, short-term rentals are not legal. City ordinance prohibits the renting out of residentially zoned homes for less than 30 consecutive days.

Not only are these short term rentals available in town, they’re available in outlying townships in Grand Traverse County too. Back in May, Miss Fortune reported that our favorite optometrist felon had listed his Carlisle Farms Drive home on VRBO for short term rental. With the month of July booked, the property owned by a convicted felon who’s currently under the fed’s spy glass for every single dime he’s misappropriated with his for-profit charter schools, derelict properties, and a federal tax lien strapped to the good doctor for good measure, it may turn a profit before August.

Ingersoll’s house isn’t within the city limits of Traverse City, it’s actually about 6 miles away from the city center in East Bay Charter Township. The map shown up at the top has the location of Ingersoll’s summer rental badly scribbled in red. The legend to the right of the map shows that this particular part of the township is zoned “low density residential.”

Page 81 of the East Bay Charter Township zoning ordinance lists everything that’s permitted in the “low density residential” zone of the township. Nowhere on that list does it say, “rent your house for a night or two at a time through the summer to make some extra cash.” Which means you can’t rent out your house like a hotel because it’s against East Bay Charter Township’s zoning ordinance. 2014 tax records list Ingersoll’s house as being a single family residential home.
A quick inquiry with the East Bay Charter Township office of planning and zoning provided this answer:

Our ordinance does not allow rentals, however anything less than a week is not allowed, as it would be considered commercial, such as a hotel.

Steve and Debra Ingersoll are illegally renting their house as a summer vacation getaway. The feds already have a tax lien on everything they own, and going over their messed up finances with a fine-tooth comb. With a felony conviction hanging over your head, What else could Steve Ingersoll possibly do make things even worse?

Here’s the kicker, it’s illegal to rent your house and if you’re caught you get a warning, and then a fine if the illegal renting continues. The zoning officer however won’t bother to check things out unless someone complains. It’s a wide-spread problem in the Grand Traverse area. Many get away with it because no one complains.

This is one crime Dr. Steve Ingersoll may get away with.

2 thoughts on “ : Renting Your Single Family Home In A Zoned Residential Township Is Illegal: Traverse City Edition”
  • Miss Fortune says:

    Perfect article! Let’s hope someone in Carlisle Farms complains to East Bay Township. Today’s “hotel” could be tomorrow’s whorehouse!

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