The City will hold a public meeting to hear input and comment as it develops a draft short-term rentals ordinance. In December the City took the first steps in regulating this growing activity by requiring short-term rental units, like Airbnb and VRBO, have the same sanitary code inspection required for all other residential rentals in Salem. Mayor Kim Driscoll and the City Council also approved a petition to the state legislature requesting that the same room tax paid by visitors staying at hotels and inns in Salem be extended to those staying in these types of short-term rentals.
“There are valid concerns about the impact of short term rentals on the housing market and we have prepared some draft regulations aimed at clarifying the best way to effectively regulate this new industry in our community,” said Mayor Driscoll. “As a tourist destination, AirBnb, VRBO and other short-term rental websites have made it easier for average homeowners to supplement their income and provide additional, sometimes more affordable lodging options for travelers to Salem. We know when visitors stay overnight in Salem, they are likely to spend more in our community helping to support the local economy. While short term rentals can drive economic growth, we also know that increased tourist traffic from short-term renters has the potential to alter neighborhood character, impact quality of life, and limit availability in an already tight rental housing market. With all of this in mind we have tried to strike a regulatory balance that would enable short term rentals to continue in Salem but do so in a manner that tries to mitigate negative impacts and enables us to effectively monitor and enforce reasonable regulations.”
The public listening session will take place on Tuesday, June 26 at 7:00 p.m. in the large first floor meeting room at City Hall Annex, 98 Washington Street. A preliminary draft of the proposed ordinance can be found at www.salem.com/rentals by clicking on the link “Draft Short Term Rentals Ordinance” at the bottom of the page. You submit comment by email to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to Friday, June 29.