To the Editor: Unintended consequences

To the Editor: 

As you may know, the Town of Bar Harbor is proposing some regulations to be voted on relative to Airbnb-type rentals (RV2 rentals). The proposal is to cap licensing for these rentals at 9 percent of total housing. Currently, Airbnb-type rentals exceed 11 percent. The thought behind this is that no new licenses would be issued until enough are relinquished to meet the 9 percent goal. Only then would new licenses be issued.

Furthermore, the town may allow the current RV2 licenses to be transferred to new owners. In this regard, the town is currently doing an opinion survey. Considering the financial gain that can be had from Airbnb rental income, it will be a long time before any new licensing is issued. Since properties with an existing RV2 license will almost certainly sell at a premium, what new owner would relinquish such a privilege? You might as well freeze this moment in time. To me, the concept of “transferability” seems to be at cross currents with the townsstated goal of reducing RV2 rentals from 11 percent to 9 percent. It will take much longer to achieve this goal.

In final analysis, caps on RV2 rentals (with or without the transferability option) would only service to enrich current Airbnb license holders. Furthermore, property owners without a current RV2 license would be excluded from selling into (or even converting into) the lucrative Airbnb marketplace. That just doesn’t seem right! I think we are just creating new issues. Sometimes things are better off if left alone.
Please consider my perspective before you vote.

Mary Galperin
Bar Harbor

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