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Short-term rentals among topics discussed with new Burlington City Council

Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 5:05 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 12, 2022 at 4:58 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Burlington’s new City Council talked about a range of issues like transportation and short-term rentals during its first meeting Monday night.

The council has three new members, but the political makeup is the same, and they’ll be putting a strong emphasis on creating fare-free transit for at least another year.

The Vermont House recently passed a transportation bill that would fund an additional year of fare-free transit, something Burlington has had since the start of the pandemic. Now, all eyes turn to the Senate.

Burlington’s City Council has bipartisan support for the bill, signing a resolution and encouraging Green Mountain Transit leadership and state legislators to meet with the city and discuss how to improve transit and keep it fare-free.

“Especially in Burlington we have many many households with no cars and so having a good public transportation system that folks can use to get around is key for both climate and economic justice and equity,” said Jack Hanson, P-Burlington City Council.

Also on Monday night’s agenda, there was more extended discussion on short-term rentals. It’s a topic that dominated discussion on the council over the last several months.

Now, with a new council, the proposal is back in a different form.

A few weeks ago, the council passed an ordinance that limited short-term rentals to rooms in owner-occupied homes or the entire home if the owner is away.

However, Mayor Miro Weinberger, D-Burlington, vetoed that item and it failed to garner enough support to override the veto.

Now, Democrat Sarah Carpenter is introducing a new version that would allow separate units and some separate dwellings on owner-occupied properties to be used as short-term rentals, something some councilors have balked at.

“Really the existing ordinance is a lot stronger than what’s being proposed tonight, so I feel like moving forward with what’s being proposed tonight would actually be a step in the wrong direction when it comes to the housing crisis in Burlington,” Hanson said.

The existing ordinance has not been enforced when it comes to short-term rentals, which fall under the city’s rules for bed-and-breakfast lodging. That’s because the city has been waiting for the council to create new rules specifically designed for short-term rentals.

Councilors voted 7-4 Monday night to send it to the city’s ordinance committee for more work. They hope to have it back on the table by June.

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