CONWAY — State Sen. Jeb Bradley will be trying to tweak the short-term rental bill he co-sponsored based on advice from Conway Selectman Carl Thibodeau.
Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) told the Sun the bill (SB 458) is meant to be a compromise to allow towns to regulate but not ban short-term rentals.
“What I’m trying to do is find a compromise,” Bradley said.
“I’m trying to find a middle ground.”
SB 458 would allow towns and cities to create an ordinance requiring short–term rental owners to register with the town clerk and provide the name and contact information of a person authorized to accept legal papers on behalf of the owner. A municipality can ask for a $50 fee for such registration.
SB 458 is co-sponsored by Sen. Harold French (R-Franklin) and Sen. Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester). Right now, it’s in the Senate Election Law and Municipal Affairs Committee.
Thibodeau told the board on Tuesday that Bradley had called him the day before about a recent article that had run in the Sun: “Selectmen baffled by rentals bill.”
In it, Town Manager Tom Holmes complained that the bill didn’t go far enough in allowing towns to inspect for life safety and for police to crack down on party houses and said he was concerned one of the co-sponsors (French) works as a real-estate broker.
Thibodeau was also quoted as saying he was “baffled” by Bradley’s bill and suggested they invite Bradley to come talk with them. “I think it’s time for a sit-down,” he said.
When Bradley got to the end of their conversation on Monday, “he said he didn’t realize some of the things I informed him of and perhaps the bill was a little bit of an overkill and didn’t really address the issue properly,” Thibodeau said Tuesday.
“He agreed to go back and have a discussion with co-sponsors and redraft that legislation to reflect more of the things that we will likely be interested in being able to accomplish,” Thibodeau said.
On Wednesday, Bradley confirmed that Thibodeau made “good points” in reference to life safety issues like ensuring proper egresses and making sure guests aren’t clogging the streets with their parked cars.
“I was encouraged to talk to Carl,” Bradley said. “At least the town of Conway wants to have some sort of regulatory format in place, not ban them.”
The bill is not scheduled for a hearing yet, and Bradley said he will speak at the hearing and make suggested changes based on input from Thibodeau.
Bradley said passing the bill will require lots of “buy-in” and compromise from stakeholders.
Thibodeau said Bradley agreed to forward him and Holmes the bill’s second draft for their input.
“One of the things that really drove this bill to be worded the way it is, is when they got wind in Concord that Kearsarge Lighting Precinct was attempting to outlaw these things completely,” said Thibodeau.
“They do not want to see that in the state of New Hampshire for several reasons, the biggest one being the impact it will have in the state economy,” he said.
Kearsarge Lighting commissioners will hold a public hearing on proposed amendments on Jan. 21.
The commissioners propose basically keeping the ordinance as is, requiring owners occupy properties offering short-term rentals. But they added a caveat that would allow non-owner-occupied rentals of more than 60 days.
A petitioned article would allow non-owner-occupied short term rentals of less than 30 days with a permit.
Annual precinct meeting is set for March 19.