To the editor:

Perhaps the biggest fallacy used by opponents of short-term rentals is that Conway’s zoning ordinances are “permissive” and therefore STRs are not allowed.

“Permissive Zoning Ordinance” in New Hampshire means that in the absence of a variance or special exception, such ordinances generally prohibit uses of land unless they are expressly permitted as primary uses or can be found to be accessory to a permitted use.

The rule of accessory use is in response to the impossibility of providing expressly by zoning ordinance for every possible lawful use. What STR opponents fail to realize is that even under permissive ordinance, a given use may be permitted even if it is not explicitly allowed.

Common law provides for many uses when the ordinance is silent on the matter. For instance: Simply because the term “Short Term Rental” is not defined in Conway’s zoning ordinance does not mean that it is not a permitted use.

“Long Term Rental” is also not defined, and yet no one believes that it is not a permitted use. Taken to the extreme, for purposes of example, the Conway zoning ordinance also does not mention allowing holiday dinners at our homes, or backyard barbecues, or having guests stay over for a night, a week or a month.

It would be ridiculous to attempt to list all the common occurrences associated with our homes that any reasonable or rational person would take for granted. Such as the right to rent our properties … long term, short term or not at all.

Jay Burnham

Hamilton, Mass.

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