MANCHESTER — Town planners began taking stock Monday night of Manchester’s housing crunch and how it’s being affected by short-term rentals, like Airbnb.

The Planning Commission discussed whether the town land-use laws or other town regulations might address unwanted side effects, such as diminishing rental stock for residents and neighborhoods disrupted by an influx short-term residents.

Commission member Leon Ward suggested finding a way to limit the number of days that property owners can rent their homes on a short-term basis. He said a family friend who has been renting in Manchester — and has a child at Burr and Burton Academy — is facing eviction because the owner wants to convert the unit into year-round short-term rentals.

“I see that as a serious thing,” Ward said.

If there’s a change to be made, it will probably have to come from a town ordinance, rather than within the land use ordinance, Zoning Administrator and Planning Director Janet Hurley said.

Member Greg Boshart said to address the issue, the commission needs to better understand how many housing units are being rented short-term, what the negative effects are and how the town might mitigate those effects.

“We need a way to know it’s happening. We need a way to mitigate it. And we need a quantifiable way to monitor and judge it,” Boshart said.

Ward suggested that tax data from the state might indicate how many days a given housing unit is rented short-term. But Hurley said the state tax data is offered by town, not by property, short-circuiting that effort.

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Manchester town planners take up short-term rentals, housing crunch – Bennington Banner

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