MADISON – Selectmen have officially decided to hire a company to inventory short-term rentals in town, and the police chief said the bylaws will likely be presented to voters at next year’s town hall meeting.
On June 15, Madison Selectman Josh Shackford said he had met with Host Compliance and the company had identified 171 short-term rentals in town. Shackford said it would cost around $ 10,200 to identify the location of the rentals and an additional $ 3,848 for compliance monitoring. The board of directors voted unanimously to pursue these two points.
On June 29, the selectmen voted to purchase inventory only. They made the decision after listening to short-term rental proponents, many of whom said an inventory could be taken by city staff within hours or suggested a more local business would be preferable.
President William Lord said Host Compliance could help identify STR owners who advertise their property can sleep 17 when the house is built to accommodate far fewer people.
Shackford suggested starting with the inventory.
“It won’t be in the next two weeks that we determine what enforcement action we are going to take,” Shackford said. “So if we made the $ 10,000, or whatever, for identification, we can stay the enforcement action.”
Lord made it a motion and it was carried unanimously. The other manager is Michael A. Mauro.
As for what happens next, Lord said city officials must determine if any rules need to be changed. Their modification would involve a public hearing and a municipal vote next March.
Resident Shawn Bergeron offered to help the planning council draft the bylaws. On June 29, he said the process would take months.
“The planning board should start working in August, September, October. There would be public hearings and so on,” Bergeron said.
“So there’s a big process … which in my opinion is why we had to go a little slow with this,” Lord said.
Police Chief Bob King said by March short-term rental owners should try to be good neighbors.
He said that as of July 2020, they had 13 noise complaints in the village district of Eidelweiss. “So by then everything will be under the microscope. And I assure you that something I’m going to be asked to provide is the number (of complaints)… Your self-monitoring certainly helps.”
King also said that when STR cleaners threw many bags of customer trash at the transfer station, it puts a strain on the infrastructure.
Resident Denise Noelle cleans RTS and says the job helps her and others to make a living. She was surprised to learn that she was not supposed to bring her clients’ garbage to the transfer station.
King clarified that residents are expected to bring their own personal garbage to the transfer station, not that of others.
“Every bag of garbage you bring to the transfer station from one of your short-term rentals, the city has to pay… to get rid of it,” King said.
Short-term rental owner Kevin Ackert said he and his wife, Stephanie, have been operating a short-term rental for 19 years and they haven’t had a single police call.
Ackert has added a large number of cleaners and maintenance workers who depend on rental for their livelihood. “If you have a lot of bars and liquor stores, whatever, and someone sells alcohol or drinks to minors, you don’t close all the bars in town because there are a few bad apples. “
Another man who gave his name, but it was not audible on the Madison TV video, said he was from Chicago and that several generations of his family had been coming to Madison for decades. He said the issue has become a source of division.
“Personally, I feel more and more that the economy is only a very small part of what it is,” the man said. “It’s about us and them.”
Later in the meeting, Shackford said he saw the us versus them mentality grow. He said the city had been accused in letters of being unwelcoming because it was starting to take a stand on short-term rentals and because the city had residents from outside $ 100 for a pass. annual to use the city’s boat launch on Silver Lake.
“It really pisses me off and offends me to say we’re not welcoming because I don’t want to pay for your garbage or I don’t want to pay for your vacation,” Shackford said.
City Clerk Mike Brooks said he’s seen people exhibit a “bullying mentality” and make requests of staff.
Mauro was appalled by the feuds he saw on Facebook.
“I was embarrassed by the things that were being said, from neighbor to neighbor,” Mauro said.
On the flip side, Brooks said there are also a lot of good people coming to Madison. For example, most city dwellers have no problem paying the annual fee of $ 100 to be able to launch their boat.
“Most people understand that it makes sense for the boat owner to pay these fees, maintain a boat launch that they use, rather than taking money from taxpayers who don’t own boats. or don’t use the ramp to do this repair, “said Brooks.” They get it.