Houseboat for rent gets mixed reviews from harbor officials

Some say it will draw people to Port, others worry about impact on marina
Ozaukee Press staff

A houseboat for rent may be moored in the Port Washington marina next summer.

Harbormaster Dennis Cherny told the Harbor Commission Monday that a potential tenant plans to rent a slip for a houseboat that would be rented out during the summer.

Because the boat would be rented out and operated as a business, it will be in the north slip marina, Assistant Harbormaster Lisa Rathke said. The boat, which she described as “very nice looking,” will remain docked, not taken out by visitors, she said.

The plan was greeted with open arms by some commission members, but others expressed some reservations.

“It’s about time,” commission member Bill Driscoll said. “I think it’s a great idea.”

At one point, he added, it was something he considered doing.

“That’s more people coming to town and visiting the businesses here,” commission member Jordy Schwanz said.

But other commission members expressed concerns about everything from the appearance of the houseboat to the potential disruption by people who rent the boat.

Commission member Dan Laurence said some tenants he spoke to were worried that college students would lease the boat and party, causing a disturbance. He asked if the city would consider an age restriction, perhaps not allowing anyone younger than 25 to rent out the boat.

Ald. Mike Gasper, a member of the commission, said that’s not something the city can necessarily do, although the owner could do that on his own.

“It’s not necessarily partiers who’ll be renting it,” Rathke added.

Cherny also noted that the renters would have to abide by marina rules, including those that regulate noise.

Commission members also discussed whether the renters would receive keys to the bathrooms and showers as well as the finger piers just as regular tenants do.

“What’s the difference between them and any other transient who comes in?” Rathke asked, noting that transient boaters receive a key that provides them with access to the piers.

In addition to drawing people to the community, the houseboat could provide an additional source of revenue for the city, Gasper said, noting the city’s room tax should be charged for each rental.

Commission members ultimately gave their blessing to the plan, adding that if problems arise they will be addressed after the season.


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