At-Large Springfield City Councilor Jesse Lederman, At-Large Councilor Tracye Whitfield, Ward 3 Councilor Melvin Edwards, Ward 4 Councilor Malo Brown, and Ward 6 Councilor Victor Davila say they will introduce legislation this month to regulate short-term rentals within city limits.
“As the online short term rental market begins to grow in Springfield, we want to ensure that these operations respect the residential integrity of our neighborhoods, that they are safe for those visiting, and properly permitted by the city,” said Lederman, who will be the lead sponsor of the legislation, “We also want to make sure that the rules are clear for responsible operators.”
He says the legislation is likely to address permitting, local taxes, and regulations relative to neighborhood quality of life, density, and inspection as allowed by state law, taking into account the input of both operators and neighbors. Lederman began considering the regulations when he was approached by neighborhood groups concerned with the lack of rules surrounding the newer industry.
Currently there are no local laws governing online short term rentals, making addressing neighborhood concerns around the establishments difficult. Recently passed state legislation requires operators to register with the Commonwealth and pay state taxes, but requires municipalities to write their own regulations at the local level.
"Short-term rentals may be a great revenue generator for Springfield, however, we want to ensure these rentals are safe and the quality of life for our permanent residents is protected from noise, litter, and other violations," said At-Large City Councilor Tracye Whitfield.
“We will work to ensure that the legislation is fair for both operators and neighbors,” said Ward 3 Councilor Melvin Edwards.
“We have to take a neighborly approach by taking both sides into consideration, providing business opportunities for the operators, while simultaneously improving quality of life in the neighborhoods,” said Ward 4 City Councilor Malo Brown, “Together, I am confident that we can reach a mutually beneficial understanding of what the guidelines will be.”
“This legislation will help to regulate short term room rentals, and create safety standards while also generating needed revenue for our city,” said Ward 6 City Councilor Victor Davila.
Councilor Lederman will introduce a draft of the legislation for discussion to the General Government Committee for a meeting on Thursday, January 23 at 5:30 PM.