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Bemidji City Council: Rental hearing set for Monday

The public hearing on the rental moratorium is set for Monday.

The Bemidji City Council will hold a public hearing on a proposed ordinance that would put in place a moratorium for up to one year on all new rental registrations for single-family homes converted into rental properties.

The council will convene at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

The first reading of the ordinance was held July 6. The public hearing set for Monday is part of the second reading. If supported, a third reading would be held in August and would go into effect 30 days after legal publication.

The moratorium could last up to one year, but the council could choose to lift it at any time.

Three letters already have been presented to the council stating their opposition to the ordinance. At least two of the letters are from real-estate agents.

The city of Bemidji has seen a 40 to 50 percent increase in the number of single-family homes converted to rental units since 2005.

That statistic, along with concerns about the loss of neighborhood character, led the council to consider the moratorium in hopes of assessing the possibility.

A recent tabulation of single-family-homes-turned-rental-units showed that the number is highest in Ward 1, near the Bemidji State University campus, where blocks often have a percentage higher than 60. In fact, one block has an 80 percent density; 50.4 percent of all single-family homes in Ward 1 are rentals.

In Ward 2, 20.10 percent of all single-family homes are rentals. Ward 3 has a 17.73 percent, Ward 4 has 19.13 percent and Ward 5 has 10.61 percent.

Depot obligations

Also on the agenda for Monday's meeting is a request to have the council clarify its expectation of the Beltrami County Historical Society in regards to the Depot's heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system.

The city leases the Depot to the BCHS.

One part of the lease agreement, approved in 2000, is up for discussion as City Attorney Al Felix is seeking for direction regarding the HVAC system.