After nearly two years in review, the Town Council voted to approve the Short Term Rental Amendments on Monday, April 12, 2021 [Article]. The approved amendments included a new amendment suggested by Chair Jamie Garvin during the April 12 meeting. Garvin, in response to a resident's question during the Public Comment portion of the meeting, proposed that the ordinance exempt a primary residence hosted short term rental operator from counting family visits towards the maximum number of allowed days to rent. Unaware that the amendments as written required a primary residence hosted, short term rental operator to count non-compensated use, Garvin stated, "This was not my intent. I am not comfortable telling someone that their family member cannot visit,” as a result of having reached the total number of days allowed to operate and that, "We have not heard complaints about this category."
Town Planner Maureen O'Meara cautioned that based on past years, exempting family visits creates "one of the biggest loopholes." No baseline exists within this category prior to the proposed amendments. Councilor Valerie Deveraux offered that, "We have penalties in place and we can see how it goes in six months. If we need to make changes, we can make more restrictions then." Councilor Gretchen Noonan agreed with Deveraux and added that it, "Feels overly restricted. I would never want to put someone in the position where they had to tell their children that they couldn't come home." Garvin followed by moving to establish an amendment to the proposed amendments which would allow for this exemption. On this motion, councilors voted 5 to 2 in favor; councilors Penny Jordan and Jeremy Gabrielson voted against.
Upon the final vote of all the amendments, Garvin commented that, "The ordinance strives to be a compromise between all different stakeholders and will hopefully dramatically improve the problems associated with short term rentals."
Per the approved Short Term Rental Amendments, the effective date shall be July 1, 2021:
“Any Short Term Rental permit in effect and issued prior to July 1, 2021 shall expire on June 30, 2021. On June 1, 2021, the Code Enforcement Officer will begin accepting for review a Short Term Rental permit application that is in compliance with the Short Term Rental amendments that become effective on July 1, 2021. All Short Term Rental permits issued after June 30, 2021 shall expire on January 2, 2022.
The 2021 permit fee for any property with an existing short term rental permit shall be $250. The 2021 permit fee for any property that does not have a short term rental permit shall be $500. Commencing in 2022, the Short Term Rental Permit fee shall be determined in the Town Fee Schedule."