Concerns raised about bed-and-breakfast in Hartland subdivision

By BRANDON ANDEREGG - Freeman Staff

Sept. 23, 2017

The Filipp family residence and Airbnb rental business in Hartland.
Brandon Anderegg/Freeman Staff

HARTLAND — Neighbors have raised concern after Steven and Elisa Filipp of Hartland have been renting their home as an “Airbnb” at 450 Park Court in a new subdivision called The Sanctuary. The Hartland Plan Commission has recommended a conditional use permit for the Filipp B& B (bed-andbreakfast) and will decide whether to issue the permit at the 7 p.m. Monday Village Board meeting.

Airbnb is an online marketplace and hospitality service that enables people to lease or rent short-term lodging around the world.

The owners said they had been testing the market for the last few months and were surprised at the high level of demand, according to the memo. The Filipps applied for a CUP on Aug. 10. The couple, who moved into The Sanctuary in early May of 2016, have been renting their home since February, according to the date of the reviews of their property on Airbnb.com. They have been renting the two lower-level rooms for temporary occupancy with a maximum number of four guests.

Village staff became aware of the operation at a Joint Architectural Board/Plan Commission meeting on Aug. 21, according to a memo issued by Village Administrator David Cox. At the meeting, Gordy King, a resident of The Sanctuary who is building a home in the subdivision but has not yet moved in, said that when he built his home, he was not aware of the nearby Airbnb. King also said that had he and his wife known, they might have decided to build somewhere else.

King expressed his concern about strangers coming into the neighborhood and increased traffic as well as background checks conducted by Airbnb.

“I’m not vehemently opposed, I just want to make sure things are done according to regulations and zoning,” he said. “It’s just a frustrating process because you don’t want to be in an adversarial position with your neighbors when you’re just moving into a new subdivision.”

Cox said the current zoning code provides that a bedand- breakfast is a conditional use in all village singlefamily residential districts. The point of the CUP then is to establish whether the business would have a negative impact on the neighborhood as well as to establish conditions to further ensure that the operation would not negatively affect the neighborhood.
 

Will take extra precautions, says B& B’s co-owner

Elisa Filipp said in an email that the couple will be taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of the neighborhood.

“We are acting in good faith, using reasonable safeguards to operate responsibly,” she wrote. “In fact, the level of safeguards (verified identities and background checks) applied to our guests is much higher than for others who regularly enter the neighborhood, such as babysitters, lawn service personnel, construction workers, delivery personnel, religious and/or political solicitors and the numerous strangers who walk through our neighborhood every day to reach the village center.”

Furthermore, the Filipps have submitted a document that will be attached to the proposed CUP, listing several measures that will mitigate any public safety risks, such as they will only book guests with verified identities through Airbnb’s extensive background checks, require information from guests regarding the intent of their visit and will only rent when they are at their residence.