Different approaches: How are area towns addressing the issue of short-term rentals?

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2022 Telegraph Publishing LLC

As public concern grows around the proliferation of short-term rentals in area towns, select boards and planning panels have begun to take action. But while towns like Killington and Woodstock have established rental registries and regulations, local governments have either taken an incremental approach or only just begun to explore the topic. And this week there will be a good deal of action – or at least talk – around the subject.

Tonight, Ludlow’s Select Board will hear from a committee it set up to look at whether to form a rental registry. On Tuesday, Andover’s Zoning Board of Adjustment will continue to work on a draft amendment to its zoning bylaws and on Wednesday, Chester’s Select Board will review the draft ordinance the town’s planning commission has sent to them. The Cavendish Select Board has asked its Planning Commission to begin looking at short-term rentals, but as of now, that is not on the commission’s Oct. 5 agenda.

Rather than passing a statewide registry and regulations for these short-term rentals, the state legislature passed that authority to each of Vermont’s 250-plus municipalities, saying that towns and cities can “regulate by means of an ordinance or bylaw the operation of short-term rentals within the municipality” and defines short-term rentals as “a furnished house, condominium, or other dwelling room or self-contained dwelling unit rented to the transient, traveling, or vacationing public for a period of fewer than 30 consecutive days and for more than 14 days per calendar year.”

Among the area’s towns, here’s what’s happening on short-term rentals:


According to Joe Fromberger, the chair of the Zoning Board of Adjustment,  The Andover Select Board asked that panel to look at two questions. First, what is an STR and second, what would they suggest as a “controlling document.”

Fromberger told The Telegraph that he drafted the language for an ordinance, with the help of the  Mt. Ascutney Regional Commission and research by ZBA member Gary Lundberg. But in August the majority of the commission decided they would rather amend the town’s zoning bylaws than have the Select Board enact an ordinance. Fromberger said asked the regional commission to help with that and the commission looked at the first draft in September.

The draft bylaw change would make short-term rentals a conditional use that would have to be approved by the ZBA. The permit would require proof of sufficient septic capacity for the number of people allowed, an inspection report from the Vermont’s Division of Fire Safety, a land use permit if subject to Act 250 jurisdiction and several other requirements under state law. The proposal would also ban weddings and catered events at short-term rentals. Current short-term rentals would be able to continue to operate for no more than one year without a permit but at the end of that time, they would either have to get a permit or cease operating.

The ZBA will continue discussing the proposal at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday Oct. 4 at Town Hall, 953 Weston Andover Road and via Zoom. To attend the meeting remotely go to https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89707404065 with the passcode 368234.


At the Sept. 12 Cavendish Select Board meeting, Town Manager Brendan McNamara said that a lot of people have been asking him what action the town might be considering regarding short-term rentals. He said that Ludlow and Chester are both beginning to regulate these types of rentals and suggested that the Planning Commission should look into this first but also thought that the Select Board should start thinking about this subject as well.

McNamara said that the amount of trash coming into the Transfer Station has increased and there is increased demand on the municipal water/wastewater systems. He added that some properties are using more than their allocated 10,000 per quarter because they are being rented for more people than originally intended. He also noted that affordable housing is hard to find and classes in the school are getting smaller with the lack of families who can afford to live in Cavendish.

“We’d be foolish not to do anything about it,” McNamara told The Telegraph, “at least look at it.”

The Planning  Commission meets at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5 at the Town Office Meeting Room, but as of now the topic of short-term rentals is not on the agenda.


After several meetings working on it, the Planning Commission has sent a draft ordinance to the Select Board. The ordinance would set up a registry of short-term rentals and establish a set of requirements that the property owners must comply with in order to operate including:

  • The number of guests allowed in the rental based on the number of bedrooms. Rentals would be allowed two guests per bedroom plus an additional two guests. A three-bedroom home could host a maximum of eight. Those properties that would allow eight or fewer guests could “self certify” the number of bedrooms while a property hosting more than eight would have to provide proof of the number of bedrooms through a septic permit or, for older homes, lister information.
  • A fire and safety inspection (more than eight guests) or self-certification on an inspection form. See the self certification form here.
  • Posting of contact information. State statute requires the contact telephone for the person responsible for the rental unit as well as the Department of Health and the Division of Fire Safety.
  • Self-certification of health and safety measures. See link for that form above.
  • Proof of liability insurance.

The ordinance also provides a schedule of fines for violations including operating without registering. Here is the packet sent to the Select Board.  In addition to the draft ordinance, the packet includes a list of possible regulations that could be considered going forward.

The Chester Select Board will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at Town Hall, 556 Elm St. You can also attend via Zoom: ​ https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81988842129 .


Short-term rentals are a permitted use in all of Londonderry’s zoning districts. The town allows hosted rentals (where the owner is on the property) but requires unhosted properties to be rented 150 or fewer days each year. Owners are required to self-certify that the property meets the requirements of the State of Vermont for safety and compliance with other regulations.

A proposed zoning bylaw change would forbid the use of short-term rentals for parties in which people who are not staying at the property would attend. Also the change would lower the number of structures on a single property that could be rented from three to one. The bylaw section on short-term rentals with the proposed changes can be seen here.


The Ludlow Select Board appointed a committee to look at the question of whether there should be a short-term rental registry. At last month’s meeting, committee members told the board that they thought that the town should go ahead with a registry and the board asked for more information. When the committee met last Wednesday, members felt that they had done what they were asked to do and that they needed some kind of guidance from the board to go forward. They added that they believed there was not enough time before tonight’s Select Board meeting to gather necessary information.  Several members said they would attend the Select Board meeting. The meeting packet contains a proposal for service from Granicus, a company that monitors rentals and provides services to municipalities to regulate them.


In 2019, Springfield amended its zoning bylaws to require a conditional use permit for operating a short-term rental. According to Town Planner/Zoning Administrator Renee Vondle, the amendment was written for the safety of the renters and to protect the character of the neighborhood.

Vondle told The Telegraph that the regulations take into account that short-term rental guests are staying in a house where they never been before and they need information — such as where the furnace shut off is located — for their safety. In addition, the property must be inspected and permitted by the State Fire Marshal and the owner must provide a site plan showing parking, a list of house rules, local property manager and/or owners contact information and a summary of their proposal. The contact information and floor plan is kept on file at both the fire and police departments.

The conditional use permit gives neighbors an opportunity to weigh in on the use. After one year, Vondle says, the town will reevaluate to see if there have been complaints or police activity at the property.

Unlike some towns that use a third-party company to monitor rental activity, such as how many guests a property is advertising that it can accommodate and sending violation notices, Springfield’s Zoning and Assessors offices handle the enforcement in house.


The Telegraph emailed Annie Fujii who serves on both Weston’s Select Board and Planning Commission to ask if that town was considering any action on short-term rentals.

Fujii responded that “this is certainly a topic that has come up in both the Select Board and Planning Commission. The Planning Commission is working on updating the Town Plan and Zoning Regulations and will be considering the short-term rental situation. We will include on our agendas and post a schedule of what sections of the Town Plan will be discussed at which meetings for public input. Meanwhile we are following what Chester and other towns are doing as well. ”

At the board’s Sept. 27 meeting, Fujii told the board about the Telegraph’s question and Vice Chair Jim Linville said that he believes the board should take the position that regulation should not be in the hands of the towns, but done by the state.

Linville noted that local government does not regulate local motels and shouldn’t have to do that with short-term rentals.


Select Board chair Kord Scott said that a resident had seen an article in The Telegraph and wondered if the town could tax short-term rentals to offset some of the education tax. The board doesn’t have an official position on short-term rentals or a plan going forward, but they will continue to look at it.

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