- Associated Press - Sunday, December 25, 2016

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - Some South Dakota residents are worried about an influx of tourists in their neighborhoods after Pennington County commissioners expanded the areas where vacation home rentals may be located.

Pennington County commissioners approved some changes to the county’s vacation home rental ordinance Tuesday to include allowing rentals in neighborhoods zoned suburban residential district. Those areas were excluded in the original ordinance passed in 2012, the Rapid City Journal reported (https://bit.ly/2hAJ2st ).

This inclusion and a few other changes prompted a flurry of letters and emails opposing the changes for fear of a proliferation of rentals in their neighborhoods and problems that might accompany them, such as strangers near their homes, noise, traffic and garbage.

Most commissioners dismissed arguments against the changes as demonstrating a lack of understanding of the actual requirements.

Jeannie Bush, a vocal opponent to the changes, said the commissioners did not base their decision on research and facts.

“What the new ordinance does is make a bad situation worse,” she said. “The commissioners did not address any of the concerns of us non-vacation home rental owners.”

County officials received dozens of letters and more than quadruple that number of signatures in opposition to the changes from residents in areas of the Black Hills such as Silver City, Hill City and Mystic.

Some who argued against the changes said the previous ordinance was working just fine, and they complained that most of the citizens who volunteered to revise the ordinance operate rentals or have a vested interest in seeing the industry grow.

The major point of contention centers on the expansion into suburban residential zones and the fact that if an owner obtains a conditional use permit to operate in that zone, it is now easier to transfer that permit as part of a sale.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, https://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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