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Friday, July 01, 2011

Ind. Decisions - "Ogden Dunes wins battle to prevent homes being rented"

The Supreme Court's opinion Wednesday in Steven Siwinski, et al. v. Town of Ogden Dunes (ILB summary here) is the subject of a story today in the Gary Post-Tribune, reported by Teresa Auch Schultz. Some quotes:

Ogden Dunes has won the right to prevent homeowners from renting their houses to vacationers.

The Indiana Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the town’s ordinance clearly states residential homes can’t be used for commercial purposes and renting a house is clearly commercial.

The town went after Steven Siwinski and Lauren Siwinski, of Highland Park, Ill., after they were caught advertising online to rent their house. Town laws say that homes can’t be rented for less than 30 days. The couple lost the initial lawsuit, with a trial judge ordering them to pay $40,000 in fines for violating Ogden Dune’s ordinance.

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed that decision, ruling in favor of the Siwinskis, but the Indiana Supreme Court said it agreed with the trial judge.

The court cited the town’s three definitions of dwellings, saying that the fact it had a definition for multiple dwellings shows that it clearly means only one family can live in a single-family house.

The Siwinskis had argued that could be interpreted to mean only one family can live in a single-family house at a time.

Here is Dan Carden's story from the June 29th NWI Times. A quote:
Town officials began stringently enforcing residential zoning rules in 2007 to prevent the lakefront community of 1,300 people from turning into a resort area.

In 2010, the Indiana Court of Appeals rejected the town's claim that its zoning rules prohibited short-term rentals and said the Siwinskis complied with the code because the rented home was being used in a residential manner and by only one family at a time.

But the Supreme Court said there's no ambiguity in the town ordinance requiring homes be used exclusively by the same family.

"We find the ordinance clearly forbids the renting of a home in the residential district," Justice Steven David wrote.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 1, 2011 10:12 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions