What you should know about providing short-term tourist housing for the U.S. Senior Open
By Mike Warren/Kris Leonhardt
PORTAGE COUNTY – Early this year, the United States Golf Association (USGA) announced that SentryWorld would serve as host site for the 43rd U.S. Senior Open Championship, June 29-July 2, 2023.
“We’ve been working really closely with the Sentry World team and the ProLink staff to really get ready to roll out the red carpet to bring people and welcome them to central Wisconsin before the big event,” said Stevens Point Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Director of Marketing Melissa Sabel.
“Sara Brish our executive director, has been working with them for quite some time. She serves on a committee…making sure that we have all of our i’s dotted and our t’s crossed to make sure that we can provide an amazing experience knowing that we’re probably likely bring people into central Wisconsin who have never been here before.
“We are reaching out to businesses, our partners in tourism throughout central Wisconsin to make sure that they’re aware of, No. 1, that this is going to be happening and that it will affect, obviously, things like traffic; and there are other needs for businesses to just be ready and aware that these things are happening.
“From a lodging standpoint, obviously, we need all of our partners throughout central Wisconsin to be on the same page, to make sure that we can welcome people in. They’re estimating 75,000 people over the course of the event. That’s huge. We do not have the resources just in Stevens Point to do that. So we’re looking for all opportunities knowing that like previous major golf events that have been held in Wisconsin, Ryder Cup for example, that the impact is going to be felt much beyond just one city limit.”
One of the ways that Portage County residents can “help roll out the red carpet” is to provide rooming options through short-term rentals, which are governed by state, county, and municipal codes.
Stevens Point Community Development Director Ryan Kernosky provided the following information on requirements for operating a short-term rental in the city of Stevens Point:
“A lodging permit that is issued by the Portage County Health and Human Services Department. The lodging permit would consist of an inspection of the home to ensure that the residence is up-to-date on applicable health codes prior to it being rented out. Please contact Cheryl Helms at [email protected] or 715-345-5772 to initiate a lodging permit request.
“A zoning permit that is issued by the city of Stevens Point Community Development Department. Those with questions on the application or wish to further discuss short-term rentals are advised to contact Community Development staff at 715-346-1567. Applicants are advised to include the following information within their application: a length of time for when the house will be rented out during the U.S. Senior Open; how the residence will be advertised for rent during the Senior Open (Airbnb, Vrbo, Facebook Marketplace, etc.); expected number of occupants during the short-term rental; and contact information of the property owner and/or on-site manager.
“Submittal of local lodging tax payment. Information on how to submit local lodging tax payments can be found within the following link: https://stevenspoint.com/1288/Room-Tax-Occupancy-Tax. Please note that submitting a local lodging tax payment is contingent on how the residence will be advertised for rent.
“For example, Airbnb has an active lodging marketplace license through the State of Wisconsin. Property owners who advertise their residence through an institution with this state license are not required to submit local lodging tax payments directly to the city – they pay the local lodging tax through the advertising institution.
“The three above requirements would need to be fulfilled prior to advertising one’s space for short-term rental.”
For those living outside of the city of Stevens Point, you should contact your local zoning office or municipality to find out about requirements for short-term rentals. Most municipal contact information is available at www.co.portage.wi.us/about-us/muncipalities.
Guidelines for the state municipal code governing rooming houses are also available at: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/code/admin_code/atcp/055/72/11. Be sure that your property qualifies before starting the process.