April 24, 2019
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Rockland to reconsider short-term vacation rental rules

ROCKLAND, Maine — The City Council is preparing to consider for a third time regulations for short-term vacation rentals.

The council will consider a preliminary vote on the proposed regulations at its meeting beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, at City Hall. If the measures are approved, a public hearing and final vote would be held in November.

The council considered approving short-term rental regulations in March and in July. Both times, councilors agreed to hold off on a vote to conduct further discussion in the wake of concerns by residents who rent out rooms and homes.

The current proposal encourages rentals of rooms or one unit of a duplex from owner-occupied residences, Code Officer John Root said.

Homeowners will need to apply to the city, and an inspection by the code office will be done before the issuance of a permit. There will be a cost to the annual permit, but that has not yet been set.

The homeowner must provide proof of insurance.

People who do not live in the home who want to rent out rooms or a unit in a duplex for less than a week must go before the city’s planning board for approval.

Root said at Monday night’s council meeting that he has received a lot of inquiries from people who are interested in purchasing properties with the intent to use them for short-term rentals. He said he has told these people that the proposed ordinances to regulate rentals is a work in progress.

Councilor Valli Geiger said she would like the city to consider regulations similar to what she said Austin, Texas, has in that it restricts the percentage of short-term rentals in a neighborhood.

She said if the city doesn’t act, the South End of Rockland will become transient housing only.

Councilor Louise MacLellan-Ruf urged the council to adopt the current proposed regulations before considering such additional ordinances, pointing out it has taken six months to get to the current proposals.

The proposed ordinance will be posted on the city’s website Friday afternoon as part of the City Council’s agenda for its Oct. 14 meeting.

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