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Mayor's Office

Posted on: February 20, 2019

Portland & South Portland Mayors Testify in Opposition to LD 209 Regarding Short-Term Rentals

Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling South Portland Mayor Claude Morgan will testify today in opposition to L.D. 209, An Act To Prohibit Municipalities from Prohibiting Short-term Rentals. The public hearing, scheduled for Wednesday, February 20, began at 10:00 AM before the Committee on State and Local Government in Room 214 of the Cross Building. Mayor Morgan will deliver the testimony in person.

The two mayors, who represent more than 100,000 residents, both chair local governing bodies that carefully and thoughtfully exercised home rule authority to recently regulate short term rentals. Both communities held dozens of public hearings over a period of more than one year to arrive at their respective decisions to regulate. Both are proud to represent vibrant and engaged communities that are willing to research, debate, and ultimately compromise to integrate this industry within each city’s existing zoning ordinances.

“We do not wish here to weigh or rehash the pros and cons of the short term rental industry. Our respective communities chose different paths, some of which each of us agree with and some of which we disagree,” said Mayor Morgan. “Just as our zoning ordinances are different, so too are the choices and methods we arrived at to regulate short term rentals in our respective communities. One size does not fit all. Both communities engaged in thoughtful dialogue to arrive at our decision to regulate. South Portland even held a citywide referendum. Voters overwhelmingly upheld the regulations drafted by their elected local officials. Both cities exercised home rule authority responsibly, thoughtfully, and—most importantly—we exercised this time-honored doctrine lawfully.”

“The short term rental industry applies unique and complex pressures on neighborhoods and communities,” said Mayor Strimling. “Removing a community’s ability to regulate the impact of an industry—to exercise our incipient rights to create a set of rules to augment the benefits while diminishing the liabilities—also removes from us access to the law courts. So, in one stroke, this bill could eliminate local decision making as well as any access to legal remedy, scholarly consideration, and judicial wisdom. This is an industry that cries out for that review. Witness the many municipalities worldwide that are already regulating short term rentals because, unchecked, they erode the role of community-based vision.”

The mayors of this state’s largest and fourth-largest economies will ask that the Committee uphold home rule and request that L.D. 209 be voted ought not pass in this committee.


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