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Neighborhood concerns prompt town to look at regulations for nightly rentals

August 24, 2018
MEREDITH — The selectmen are asking the planning board examine a possible ordinance on nightly rentals of residential property following complaints by residents of one lakeside neighborhood about disruptions caused by a home posted on Airbnb.

On Monday night, a number of residents of Spindle Point Road talked to the selectmen about disruptions caused by the users of a neighbor's property for an Airbnb.

Steve Merrill said a neighboring property has had a high number of guests on a nightly basis, sometimes three or four families at a time and as many as 20 people at one house in a night. He said while sometimes that property will have a party of a few people who are courteous, often there will be multiple people who are disruptive.

Merrill said he understands times are changing with rental businesses like Airbnb and issues created with operating a commercial business in a residential zone. He said a number of communities are considering regulations regarding Airbnb rentals and similar arrangements. He said a situation like this can pose a safety hazards and disrupt the sewer system.

He asked for the selectmen to consider an ordinance regulating nightly rentals.

"We have a transition going on almost daily," said neighbor Mike Naddif. "Like everything else in this wonderful area, we call Winnipesaukee we have people that abuse the privilege."

Naddif said they will have as many as 20 cars parked down the street. He said they have tried to talk to the property owners, who said to call the police if they had any issues. He said they contacted Airbnb and have not received any help.

Naddif said Meredith has 55 published Airbnb rentals and Laconia has 105. He also presented articles on policy decisions on this made in Laconia and Concord.

Town Manager Phil Warren said although New Hampshire is a home rule state there are no statutes supporting municipalities making certain decisions for themselves. He said this would be a matter best reviewed by the Planning Board because this is a land issue that could lead to a zoning ordinance. As the deadlines for zoning changes are coming up soon to go on the March warrant, Warren said this would be an ideal time to bring this matter forward.

All of the selectmen agreed that the Planning Board should consider this. Members of the board said bed and breakfasts are regulated and require business licenses, health and safety standards, tax requirements, and many other requirements and questioned what regulations exist for Airbnb's.

Warren said this issue applies to nightly rentals, whereas weekly, monthly, or seasonal rentals have been in operation in Meredith for a long time with little incident.

On Warren's recommendation, the board made a formal motion to require the Planning Board to immediately study an ordinance change that would address the short term, nightly rentals of residences. The selectmen voted unanimously in favor.

Tiffany Eddy
Martin Lord Osman
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