Noank to host public consultation meeting on proposed Airbnb and Vrbo regulations

July 1 – GROTON – The Noank First District Zoning Commission is holding a meeting next Thursday – not a formal public hearing – to seek informal public comments on its proposal to regulate short-term rentals, such as Airbnb and Vrbo. A short term rental is less than 30 days.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Noank Baptist Church. Members of the Commission will accept comments until 9.45pm but may choose to continue the meeting later “if enough people still wish to speak”.

President Rick Smith emailed the agenda, introduction, rules of engagement and draft ordinance to the Fire District mailing list on June 10. He confirmed on Thursday that changes had not been made since.

The ordinance would limit rentals to one group over any two-week period, cap rentals at 45 days per year, require at least one member of each party to be over 25, ban rentals in the first three years possession of a home, would exclude posters advertising short-term rentals and require an operator or agent to respond within 20 minutes of communicating an emergency or complaint. The proposal has already proved controversial.

Only residents of Noank, landowners and attorneys representing clients will be allowed to speak, and for three minutes each. Those wishing to speak should email [email protected] before 5 p.m. Monday and provide their Noank address.

If there is time left after everyone who registered in advance has spoken, there will be a chance for those who registered the night of the meeting to speak. If there is still time and the committee is willing, those who have already spoken may be allowed to speak a second time.

The committee strongly encourages speakers to also submit their comments in writing. Written comments on short-term rentals received as of April 1 and up to five days after the meeting will be considered comments submitted for the public consultation meeting, as many people have already written to the panel at this time. topic.

The commissioners will not answer questions, engage in debate or make any decisions during this meeting.

The agenda says speakers “will be more effective if they recommend changes to specific measures and describe why they think their alternative will better meet the Commission’s objectives”.

Zoning committee members spent a lot of time at two meetings in May discussing the parameters of the public consultation session.

They discussed where to hold the meeting, how far to include comments already submitted on STRs, the idea of ​​having a hybrid virtual / in-person meeting, whether to limit comments to three minutes per person or per property, and whether to let a lawyer speak for up to 15 minutes, representing up to five clients.

Smith said he thought the commission “might get more effective feedback from a representative who doesn’t have a dog in the fight than someone who is frankly upset about it,” although the member of the commission Nip Tanner said he would be surprised if the lawyers’ input helped the commission come up with a better proposal.

Smith also commented in May: “The commission has a right to think about whatever it hears and decide what (comments) it wants to embrace and include, or it can come up at the end of the day and say, ‘I did not hear anything that made me change my mind ”, and it is the right of the commission to do so. “

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