And yet again, Short-Term Rentals get a feature in the local Conway Daily Sun. It seems that in the past two years, the local news can’t go a week without reporting on one town or another speaking about STRs and their legality. This week it is the Town of Madison, which is proposing several definitions including “Short-Term Rental” and “Dwelling Unit”.
The definitions were drafted over the summer by Town resident Shawn Bergeron of Bergeron Technical Services with help from the Town’s legal counsel Laura Spector-Morgan of Mitchell Municipal Group in Concord. These definitions are to be voted on at the Town Meeting in March. The definition of STR reads:
“A non-owner-occupied residential dwelling unit where a transient lodging with sleeping accommodations for fewer than 16 occupants is provided for compensation for stays of any duration between one and 30 consecutive nights; and where the dwelling unit would normally be considered a residential living unit not associated with a regulated commercial activity such as but not limited to hotels, motels or bed-and-breakfasts.”
The Madison Planning Board proposes further to define “dwelling unit” as “one or more rooms arranged designed or used for non transient residential purposes with independent sanitary and cooking facilities.”
So what does this mean for residents and prospective home buyers in the Town of Madison? First off, know that this only what the Planning Board is proposing, things could certainly change depending on the Town vote. But essentially, the Board is proposing that STRs would be required to appear before the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) to get a special exemption to run an STR in a dwelling unit. However, the good news for current homeowners running STRs is that Spector-Morgan, legal counsel for the Town of Madison, has said that existing STRs would be grandfathered in. But will this grandfathered status transfer with a sale of the property? That remains to be answered for buyers looking in the area.
Chairman Marc Ohlson, commenting on how the grandfathered status would work, said “We haven’t got that far.” He further stated that between now and December 1st, the Planning Board would be addressing the criteria and conditions for the special exemption. Unfortunately, this seems to just be the tip of the iceberg in Madison. The definitions and special exemptions are all steps toward regulation of STRs, which I have always supported in Conway, however it means little until these proposals hit the ballot in March. The bright side is that the tone from Town Officials seems to be on the route of STR regulations rather than elimination, at least for now.
If you are interested in speaking about STRs and regulations across the towns of Mt. Washington Valley, please reach out to me directly via email: Austinhale@mwvre.com