Orléans considers new rules for short-term rentals

ORLEANS – “We can’t go back to the good old days,” Dick Hartmann of the Orleans Planning Council stressed on Wednesday, “but we can prepare for what we anticipate that is detrimental.”

Hartmann did not fondly remember soda shops, sock-hopping and lollipops. He was referring to just a few years ago when families rented their Cape Town homes for a few weeks in the summer. Today these short term rentals are a whole new world.

“We are dealing with a business model that did not exist 10 years ago,” said Jeff Runyon, board member of Orleans Select. “The power of the internet has adapted entrepreneurial expansion to what we see today. The ability to rent homes one night, two nights at a time.

More than 700 short-term rentals in Orléans

The growth of the local short-term rental market prompted the Select Board to ask the Planning Board at Wednesday’s joint meeting to consider curbing a new source of town revenue that is also disrupting the lives of some residents. According to state records, there are 711 short-term rentals operating in Orleans out of approximately 3,500 residences.

“We live on a private road with deeded rights to a beach and a house was sold that had one occupant for 50 years,” Nancy Jorgensen told the councils. “It was bought by someone from California. It now rents out to 15 people a week, advertises four bedrooms when it’s only approved for three, and the story gets worse from there.

“We are only in (the) third or fourth week and the first two weeks have been disastrous. For all practical purposes, it is now a banquet hall and a shopping complex. If we do not move forward, there’s so much money to be made, this house rents for $12,000 a week.

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