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March 16, 2018

South Portlanders petition to stop short-term rent restrictions

Photo / Airbnb
Photo / Airbnb
The Airbnb website lists this South Portland home with a headline "Large home close to everything!" and describes it "as ideal for providing an excellent accommodation for a family or groups that want to live in comfort for their stay in the Portland area. There are 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths, and the home is outfitted with every convenience necessary." A January 2018 review stated the "house is spacious, clean, and easily accessible. The location has good parking, a grocery store nearby and it's just a quick Uber/Lyft ride to downtown. I would highly recommend it for large groups."

The city of South Portland has received a petition to reverse measures to restrict short-term rentals, approved last month by the city council.

The Forecaster reported that if the petition meets the minimum number of signatures the amendment to the city's land use ordinance, set to be enforceable June 1, is suspended from going into effect and the petition will go before the council at its next regular meeting for reconsideration.

"It's attacking homeowners' rights," petitioner Michael Frabotta told the weekly newspaper.

Frabotta said that although he doesn't operate a short-term rental, he's concerned about the ordinance's effect on property owners' rights. The short-term rental ordinance bans non-owner-occupied rentals in all residential neighborhoods. Hosted stays, where the homeowner is present, in all areas of the city would still be possible, and non-homeowner-occupied rentals would be allowed only in commercial and mixed-use neighborhoods.

In February, District 1 City Councilor Claude Morgan told Maine Public, "Over the last couple years there's been a proliferation of purchases of homes from people who never intended to live there, who bought them strictly as investments to run them as little hotels," adding that those un-hosted rentals had made South Portland's tight housing market even tighter.

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