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SAUGUS — Residents can no longer offer short-term rentals on their property after Town Meeting banned the practice. The move all but eliminates Airbnb rentals in town, restricting the practice to commercial areas.
Concerns about short-term rentals are centered around traffic and parking issues, said Town Meeting Member Michael Serino, who added that the Town Manager’s office has received several complaints.
Airbnb, Inc. is a San Francisco-based, privately held global company that operates an online marketplace and hospitality service which is accessible through websites and mobile apps. Members use the service to arrange or offer lodging.
“Someone next door to you could open a (bed and breakfast) on a residential piece of property and now you have cars all over the streets, out-of-state license plates, people walking around your property,” said Serino. “So we decided to move them into commercial and business zones properties and keep them out of residentials.”
The bylaw amendment, which passed unanimously, adds a table of use for bed and breakfasts that defines what areas they are allowed to exist in, including the Route 1 district, Mills District, and Waterfront District.
A search on Airbnb showed more than a dozen properties available for short-term rental in town. Many advertised Saugus’ proximity to both Boston and Salem and access to public transportation.
“This home is located in a safe, friendly neighborhood, close to beaches, malls, and great restaurants,” reads one listing for a four-bedroom home.
It also advertises free parking.
By adding a definition and table of use for short-term rentals — spaces leased for less than 31 days that are not a hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast establishment — voters also removed short-term rentals from residential areas.
“If someone wanted to rent their condo out for a week, they wouldn’t be able to do that,” said Serino.