Restricting the number of rentals is not the solution
I understand Mr. Lesmeister's concerns regarding rental properties and their upkeep. However, I don't think restricting the number of rental properties is the solution; the number isn't the root cause of the problem. I would propose that, when the city issues the rental license to the owner, the owner enters a contract with the city stating the owner will ensure grass is cut, snow is shoveled, and the property is kept up to a reasonable standard or they risk fines, fees from the city for their costs to maintain the property on the delinquent owner's behalf, and possible loss of the license to rent.
Doing so will allow property owners to do as they want with their property while maintaining not only their property values but those of their “neighbors” as well. Responsible property owners who rent their houses will not be adversely affected while it ensures out-of-town owners are held accountable for the upkeep of their property.
When we were looking for a home in Morris two years ago, there were several we looked at that, in my opinion, should have been condemned and certainly were not suitable for living in. I've noticed many of those houses have been turned into rentals. I doubt that much, if anything, was done to them before the renters moved in. I think if we address the root cause of owners' failure to maintain their properties it would solve a lot of the nuisances mentioned at the council meeting.
And, as always, for something like this to work, it would have to be enforced. This is only my opinion and one possible solution, but it think it would also address the concerns of the other residents who stood up and spoke at the meeting. We have to be mindful of the fact that the University and its students are a large part of this community; requiring owners who rent to maintain their properties year-round is in the best interests of our permanent residents, the UMM students, and everyone else involved.