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Crookston residents concerned over proposed Airbnb

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CROOKSTON, MN (WDAZ)—It’s this piece of property that is up for sale located at Johnson Place and Widman Lane here in Crookston that has residents concerned.

For years the building was used as a group home, but after sitting vacant for over a year, now it's for sale—and a Mayville couple wants to buy it and turn it into an Air BnB—a short term housing facility that is like a cross between an apartment and a motel room.

And neighbors are concerned.

“It is a concern, because they’re wanting to use it as a lodging house, and according to our city coding, a person without a background check could stay for an indefinite period of time,” said neighborhood resident Brenda Crane.

Brenda Crane has lived in the same neighborhood for 29 years. In fact, she lives just a few houses down from the massive 8 bedroom, 4 bathroom property.

"If the request was different in the fact that it was a residential homeowner that wanted to have an air BnB in the home that they occupy, and perhaps they have a basement or they have one or two bedrooms that they want to use, I think that probably would be looked at very differently than 8 rooms with limited parking space, and not being supervised,” said Crane.

Which is why Crane and a handful of other home-owners voiced their concerns at city council earlier this week.

Last week the city planning commission recommended to the Crookston city council that they approve a permit that would allow the property to be used as a lodging home.

But after hearing the public concern at the last meeting, city council is now reconsidering.

"They're certainly listening to our concerns to make the decisions that they need to make for the future,” said Crane.

Currently there is nothing in Crookston's city code that says you can't open a lodging house. But with more concerns than just safety being voiced.

"Traffic, parking, signage have been concerns, as well as pets."

The city council will take it's time in making a decision on the sale and the permit.

In an email statement to WDAZ, the potential buyer said he wanted to bring an Air BnB to Crookston for travelers to utilize and had hoped the sale and renovation process would be complete by now.

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