NORTH ADAMS — A much-debated ordinance proposal for short-term rentals may see some edits.
At its meeting Tuesday night, the City Council decided not to vote for or against the proposal and instead voted to send it to the council’s General Government Committee for further review and possible changes.
“I don’t think it’s done at this point,” City Councilor Keith Bona said of the proposal.
Officially introduced this year in City Council, the proposed ordinance would require short-term rentals register with the city and get inspected to ensure they are safe. Among other regulations, the proposal also explicitly requires short-term rentals to meet the state building code. It also fixes a zoning issue that currently does not allow certain types of short-term rentals in residential zones, Bill Meranti, the city’s director of Inspection Services, told the council.
Last week, the Planning Board met and voted to recommend the ordinance, with some changes. Most notably, the group voted to suggest eliminating a proposed requirement that some rentals would have to be “professionally-managed.”
But there was some confusion about a list of suggested changes submitted to the council, and City Council President Lisa Blackmer, who is also on the Planning Board, said suggestions should have been more specific and that the council should seek clarification.
Some councilors expressed other concerns about the draft. It doesn’t include any rules on limiting the number of short-term rentals in the city, said Councilor Ashley Shade. She also claimed there is not enough housing for residents.
“We already have a housing crisis in our community,” Shade said.
The current proposal is hard to understand, Councilors Marie Harpin and Bryan Sapienza said. “It’s a difficult read,” said Harpin.
Though there have been a number of meetings about the proposal, few changes have been made.
“The ordinance has always been in draft form,” Meranti said, “and looking for input from the various committees that it’s already been to, that it’s been to again and again, to the Planning Board. And thus far, these are the only amendments that came out of those meetings.”
Every meeting about the ordinance, the same questions are posed, Councilor Peter Oleskiewicz said. “We need to find closure.”
The date for the next General Government Committee meeting is not yet on the city calendar, but the proposal is scheduled to come back to City Council in late April.