Discussion has ensued on two provisions following the Plymouth Selectboard’s decision in May to amend elements of the Short-Term Rental (STR) Ordinance currently in place. These changes were intended to make the regulations more reasonable, and to encourage better compliance.
Though not a voting resident of town, I am a fifth generation Plymouth property owner and taxpayer who offers our family property as a vacation rental, and I have actively participated in the selectboard’s discussions.
Fire inspections, health condition controls, state lodging tax remittal, respect for neighbors – these are all things that should be embraced and followed by all rental businesses.
The amendment to make Knox Boxes “recommended” instead of “required” is fair and reasonable, and should be adopted. The rationale being put forth for Knox Boxes being required is based on concern for renter safety and ease of first responder entrance. If this is the case, then it should be a requirement for all residences in town, so that all residents’ safety is safeguarded equally.
The choices surrounding homeowners insurance is a personal matter, and the details should not be dictated by the town. I choose to maintain a full commercial rental policy because that’s what I want for myself and my guests. If others choose to be underinsured, they put their property and family assets at risk, but this does not impact the community.
Parking restrictions based on bedroom count are outdated and ineffective methods for addressing the relevant community concerns. Preventing people from parking in the street can easily be enforced with a town-wide regulation that prohibits on-street parking.
The current occupancy provision limits the number of people staying in a house due to the concern for septic capacity. The Standards for Responsible Hosting set out by the Vermont Short Term Rental Alliance (VTSTRA) recommend to “limit occupancy to the legal limit determined by a State Fire Safety Certification, or limit occupancy to two people x number of legal bedrooms + two (to prevent sewer/septic damage, control wastewater management, and prevent neighborhood disturbances).”
Requiring every vacation rental to complete a full, in-person inspection in every year is excessive and impractical for Vermont’s limited fire safety resources.