Short-term rental debate continues in Cape Elizabeth
CAPE ELIZABETH — The debate over how to manage short-term rental properties continued Monday night at the Town Council workshop, with additions to a draft ordinance that included a more rigorous permitting process.
About 10 of the more than two dozen residents in attendance offered a range of opinions from defining short-term rentals as businesses to imposing fines on code violators to banning short-term rentals.
Neighbors who live near short-term rentals have complained for more than a year about unruly renters causing problems in their neighborhoods and asked the council to impose restrictions on the properties about 11 months ago.
The council drafted an ordinance at the beginning of the year and has made a number of revisions since its creation. It will likely go through several more revisions before the council holds a vote, Town Manager Michael McGovern said.
Town Planner Maureen O'Meara presented the latest draft Monday night, which included changes to who the permits would apply to and the addition of a checklist form for code enforcement.
The checklist for the permit would require property owners to disclose the address of the property, a contact person and the availability of the rental. Owners would also need to be in compliance with several codes including parking, sanitary waste disposal and occupancy levels.
One of the ideas the council raised to address the issue of code enforcement was to impose a three strikes rule on short-term rental owners, where owners would be warned, fined and then have their permit pulled if violations continued.
Police Chief Neil Williams said at the meeting he was in favor of a permitting process, but he thinks the zoning enforcement officer of the town should make the call to give someone a strike, not the police.
The council and various committees will hold a number of meetings in the future with the next being the ordinance committee meeting, scheduled for 4 p.m., Aug. 14, at Town Hall.