BLACK HILLS, SD — Towns in the Black Hills area are cracking down on vacation home rentals.

In a measure initiated on Tuesday, Hill City residents voted 158 to 138 to ban vacation homes in residential areas of the city.

“We are landlocked. That’s what we have. If it all goes to vacation homes, that’s what we get,” Hill City resident Angie Ross said.

Ross introduced the measure, citing numerous concerns about the community’s housing market for families and its workforce.

“If we continue to allow vacation homes to eat up our residential accommodations, that goes away,” Ross said. “We don’t have kids moving in. We don’t have families moving in. I love retirees moving in, but we can’t let people build houses in Hill City just to rent them out.

The Hill City ban comes as Custer City Council voted 3-2 to change an ordinance it passed in 2018 – effectively banning short-term rental housing in residential areas.

In Custer, there are currently 27 short-term rentals that will be grandfathered. But if the properties are sold, the conditional use permits will not be transferred.

City officials say it’s to protect full-time residents and their property.

“We don’t want a town that’s just visitors,” said Peg Ryan, an alderman for the town of Custer. “We want people who actually live here and care about what’s going on in the community, and contribute in any way they want.”

Opponents, like Lori Svoboda of Western Skies Real Estate, say they are working to hold a referendum to change the November ballot ordinance. The referendum will need a total of around 80 signatures.

Due to the pre-ban ordinance, since 2018 only six short-term rentals have been added in the town of Custer.

“Right now we already have orders that are in place, and they are very strict. And it’s really difficult to go through that order to get the conditional use license,” Svoboda said.

Hill City’s ban is currently in place, while Custer’s order goes into effect 20 days after it was first printed in the city newspaper. None of these prohibitions extend to commercial areas.