Last week’s article in the Country Messenger covering a recent community conversation regarding short-term rentals (STR) concluded that there was general support for the concept. That was a reasonably accurate conclusion, but as they say: “the devil is in the details.” There is a wide range in what constitutes a STR. Those in attendance heard reference to STR variants ranging from back yard tents and travel trailers to purpose-built accommodations. Incidental use of spare bedrooms, accessory buildings, and private homes fall somewhere on a continuum between these two “book ends”. There is also variation in ownership interest ranging from STR’s offered by residents, non-residents, and commercial businesses. Then there is the matter of frequency of use. Clearly there is a difference between infrequent or occasional rental to near-full time use. Finally, the question of how many STRs, and how close together they may be is an important consideration. Complicated? You bet!One only needs look at the dramatic growth and evolution of Airbnb to recognize the range of possibilities. What began as a social platform and simple means of room sharing has become the purveyor of a wide variety of offerings. Some forms of STR may present minimal impact on residential neighborhoods. Others have the potential to tear the fabric of community that makes Marine special.
I support the work that the Planning Commission is doing to carefully consider the question of what forms of STR may be appropriate for Marine. I also ask community members to consider what forms of STR they would be okay with if sited next door in a residential district. We need to get this right.
Marine on St Croix