Plymouth Neighbors Want Home’s Rental License Revoked After Fatal Shooting
Residents in a Plymouth neighborhood want the rental license revoked for a home that was the scene of a murder two weeks ago.
“A 4,000-square-foot home has no business being rented for $175 a night in a family neighborhood. It’s an invite for a party,” said Traci Ohlenkamp, who spoke at Tuesday’s Plymouth City Council meeting.
Council members considered the next course of action for the home as well as possible updates to the city’s rental licensing ordinance.
According to criminal charges filed, a “large party” was taking place on Saturday, March 4, when a 19-year-old Brooklyn Park suspect shot and killed a 20-year-old Brooklyn Center man inside a home in the 5800 block of Oakview Lane.
“I am pleading with you and the members of the council to please take action to help bring a sense of safety back into our family-friendly neighborhood,” said Amber Wychor, who lives in the neighborhood.
Plymouth’s current rental ordinance requires the city to notify the property owner of potential revocation or penalties before any action can be taken. That written notice hasn’t gone out yet, but the city council directed city staff to send out a notice for license revocation this week.
Neighbors say the 6-bed, 4-bath home was rented via VRBO. Erik Fadden, the city’s public safety director, said he has been in contact with the owner, who is out in California. Fadden said he recognizes the pain and anxiety neighbors are feeling.
“Like many of these that we’ve had over the last couple years, I won’t soon forget. I was there that night, saw the victim. I was one of two people who told his mother that her son had died,” said Fadden. “So I feel all the same tragic feelings that all of you are experiencing.”
Plymouth Revisits Rental Licensing Ordinance Proposal
Back in 2018, the city of Plymouth considered making changes to its ordinance for short-term rentals. The issue came up then due to problems with a rental home that drew complaints for out-of-control parties.
A rental license for the home on Oakview Lane was approved last December after passing an inspection. City documents show there have been no police calls to the home until the March 4 incident.
“This was not a property that was on our radar. It was properly licensed,” said Grant Fernelius, director of the city’s Community and Economic Development Department, which oversees rental licensing. “Like many communities, we are struggling I think what to do about short-term rentals.”
According to Fernelius, there are more than 9,200 rental dwellings in Plymouth, about 83 percent are apartments. About 1,100 units are rented single-family properties with less than 1 percent of them being short-term rentals. But Fernelius says short-term rentals are difficult to track, noting the city’s code currently doesn’t distinguish the difference between “short-term” and “long-term” rentals.
A proposed licensing ordinance amendment under consideration would define short-term rentals as units “offered to transient guests for a period of less than 30 consecutive days.” Currently, 16 short-term rentals are listed on major websites, but Fernelius acknowledged the number is likely higher.
The Plymouth City Council expects to hold a meeting Thursday, March 30, at 5:30 to vote on license revocation for the Oakview Lane property. The Thursday meeting is due to a lack of a quorum on the preceding Tuesday, its typical meeting day. The city council is also expected to vote on an updated ordinance for short-term rentals.