Cape panel to examine seasonal home rental issues

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Residents who offer their homes for short-term rentals may face regulations or restrictions because of complaints by neighbors about noise and excess traffic.

The Town Council on Sept. 12 unanimously sent the issue to the Ordinance Committee to discuss potential solutions and limits on specific uses of rental properties.

Town Manager Mike McGovern said the issue is not the ability to rent a house, but how to reduce the impact of rental properties on neighbors.

“It is increasingly about when does a residence cease to be a residence and become a business, and what are the impacts on neighboring properties as events happen,” McGovern said. 

David Volin of Lawson Road lives near a rental property and told councilors that having to deal with noise and parking issues has been “off-putting.”

But homeowner David Ginn of Sea Barn Road, who has rented his home for a wedding and has had complaints lodged against him, said he needs the rental income. He said it has become difficult to pay his property taxes, especially after a recent reassessment that increased his property’s value to $1.5 million from $1.1 million.

“It’s been my desire to do nothing but keep my neighborhood from being affected by this,” Ginn said. “I am conscientious of the complaints I’ve just heard and they hurt me to hear that. … I feel like I’m at war with my neighbors no matter what I do.”

Councilor Jessica Sullivan said the solution may be as simple as tightening the disturbance ordinance.

“I am certainly loath to go down a road that restricts anyone’s use of their private property and their personal property,” she said. “But such use should not prohibit someone else from enjoying their own property as well.”

The Ordinance Committee will review other communities that have short-term rental provisions and report back to the council.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or Follow her on Twitter: @amy_k_anderson