Are Short Term Rentals Exceeding Bylaw Limits?
I think it is important that our Fairhaven residents are aware that it has been reported by a town official, that we have exceeded our bylaw short term rental limits. We now have over 120 Short Term Rentals operating in the town of Fairhaven.
If the residents of Fairhaven are aware of this, then we may be able to prevent more short term rentals from operating here, illegally. Residents sighting a new Short Term Rental Operation, developing in their neighborhood, should report it to the Building Commissioner.
Residents of Fairhaven should also be aware that, for the past year, our Short Term Rental Bylaws have not been implemented by anyone in our town government. No accurate tracking system of any kind either. A totally uncontrolled STR situation that has been allowed to run rampant, right in the midst of a horrific housing shortage, and long term rental crisis. This all can be controlled through zoning, bylaws or banning STR’s.
We have countless working residents who offer vital services in the community who are without a home of their own and or displaced, due to the extreme lack of inventory and long term rental options. One resident revealed to me that his grown daughter, with a good job, has been looking for a home for three years.
I have tried to offer safety options to our Select Board, publicly. For example, I suggested a temporary ban on Short term rentals at the February 6th Select Board meeting, until such time there is someone who has significant control over the situation.
Let’s be honest. It’s going to take months for our newly appointed Building Commissioner (appointed last week) to get STR operations under his control.
We are experiencing tax increases here in Fairhaven, excise tax has increased another 10%, all our basic living expenses have increased, and yet simple measures that can be taken to protect our safety and housing inventory needs, continues to placed on the back burner. We need our Select Board to take Action Now — before homelessness increases to worse measures then last year.
I am advocating a ban on short term rentals until the Town of Fairhaven has the STR situation under their control, and are actively implementing the STR bylaws. We do not want to increase our extreme housing deficit any further. Nor do we want our little town of Fairhaven to be an open door to some of the bad apples out there, who are monopolizing the housing market to such an extent that they keep knocking out more regular home buyers and residents who work here, and need a place to live. Not to mention the big Safety Factor here. Who are these cash buyers coming into our town, and where are they from? We don’t know.
If any of our Fairhaven residents want to discuss their housing situation/safety needs, or get involved to help save our housing inventory from further peril, please contact me at home.is.a.basic.need@ gmail.com
I know some residents from the last article I wrote here tried to contact me through my personal FB. Sorry If we lost connection. The email address given above will be a good place to reach me.
I can also send a copy of the STR bylaws to anyone who requests it.
To be continued…
Michelle Costen, Fairhaven
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