County planners discuss short-term resident rentals

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On July 18, the Montgomery County Planning Department held a community meeting to discuss regulation of short-term resident rentals advertised online through services such as Airbnb, HomeAway and others. The purpose of the meeting was to receive feedback from the community.

Short-term Rental Project Manager Gregory Russ said the Planning Department has been tasked with engaging the community to see if laws allowing short-term residential rentals in an expanded capacity within Montgomery County are feasible. Information gathering includes: will residents support the idea; is this something that should be allowed readily or moderately; and impacts on homeowners and neighborhoods. In an online meeting recap, Russ notes that questions at the meeting came from residents who were passionate about their neighborhoods and were focused on impacts to their local communities; the focus should be on maintaining neighborhood integrity.

Short-term residential rentals—renting a home or room for less than 30 days—are currently illegal in Montgomery County, unless the property has been approved for use as a bed and breakfast. Online services such as Airbnb and HomeAway, among others, connect travelers with homeowners or property managers who offer their homes for short-term use, typically less than 30 days.

The Montgomery County Council is considering legislation that would allow homeowners to participate in this newer form of economic opportunity in their residential areas. In February, ZTA 16-03 was introduced, which would change short-term rental requirements, allowing for use of the online services, with some limitations. In addition, Bill 2-16 was introduced; this legislation would update licensing requirements for bed and breakfasts, as well as other transient housing facilities. Once enough additional research has been done and feedback is received, the Planning Department will make a recommendation to the Planning Board and the county council.

For more information, questions or comments, visit www.montgomeryplanning.org/shorttermrentals; or contact Gregory Russ at 301-495-2174 or e-mail Gregory.Russ@montgomeryplanning.org; or Emily Tettelbaum at 301-495-4569 or e-mail
Emily.Tettelbaum@montgomeryplanning.org.