Public hearing planned on short-term rentals in Buckland

Buckland Town Hall.

Buckland Town Hall. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By DIANE BRONCACCIO

For the Recorder

Published: 03-17-2024 8:14 AM

Modified: 03-17-2024 8:14 AM


BUCKLAND — Residents will be able to weigh in on a proposed bylaw later this month that would allow short-term rentals while ensuring public safety, maintaining neighborhood character and preventing possible nuisances for abutters.

By the end of 2022, 20 properties in town were registered with the state Department of Revenue as short-term rental units; two were owner-occupied units while 18 were not. However, there could be others operating without being registered, and some that were registered might now be inactive. Several registered in town are either part of Airbnb or Vacation Rentals by Owner (Vrbo).

Under the new proposal for “Short Term Residential Rentals,” the owners or operators must annually apply for the permit in the Town Clerk’s Office. Each application must include payment of all associated fees, as well as the property owners’ names, contact information and an agent that can respond 24/7 to any disturbances or emergencies within two hours of the call. The applicant also needs proof of liability insurance coverage. The application will be followed by a health inspection and certificate of compliance with sanitation and building codes.

The registration cannot be transferred to another party, and the permit will be terminated if the property is sold.

Current owner-occupied and non-owner-occupied short-term rental units will be required to meet these bylaw standards within six months of when the bylaw is enacted.

The operator will be required to keep a log of everyone that stays in a short-term dwelling, along with their home addresses and dates of occupancy. The Franklin Regional Council of Governments regional health agent will be in charge of enforcing the bylaw. Complaints of any violation could result in an inspection and enforcement action. Failure to comply with any court order could result in a $300 fine, with the possibility of a $300 fine per day if the violation isn’t remedied.

The public hearing on the proposed bylaw is planned for Tuesday, March 26, at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.

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