Ocean Pines residents urged to attend hearing on short-term rentals

The Ocean Pines Board is encouraging residents to attend a public hearing on proposed new legislation affecting short-term rentals. 

The hearing is Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 11 a.m. at the County Commissioner’s meeting room in the government center on 1 West Market Street in Snow Hill.   

“The notion of renting a home on a short-term basis is not a new idea in Ocean Pines. However, with the popularity of Airbnb and VRBO, the influx of rental transactions in our area has increase dramatically,” Association President Doug Parks said. “There are many more occurrences of short-term rentals that involve far more people than would be in a traditional family residence. These rentals are now causing problems of noise, parking and other disturbances within our community. 

“The county is now looking into this important issue on a county-wide basis. We ask that all interested parties in Ocean Pines attend the hearing to understand what the county is proposing to address the situation and to share their perspectives on the issue,” Parks added. 

Association Vice President Steve Tuttle also urged residents to attend the hearing. 

“Ocean Pines residents have an important opportunity to express their opinions regarding a bill that will be passed by the Worcester County Commissioners,” he said. “The final wording of the bill is not set and now is the time for Ocean Pines to speak up.  

“Do you rent your home in OP during the summer season? Do you own investment property that you rent continually? Do you live next door to a property being rented via an online site where 10-15 people and are packed into a three-bedroomhome and 6-10 cars park in the drive and on the street? Is the rental even registered as required by law with Worcester County? Please, this is your opportunity to share your views on this very important issue that impacts all of us in live in OP. Hope to see you at the Oct. 15 public hearing,” Tuttle added. 

The Worcester County Commissioners introduced the amendment to Bill 19-3 on Sept. 17.  

A fair summary of the amendments to the bill are as follows: 

§ ZS 1-103(b). (Adds a new definition of “Bedroom” in the Zoning and Subdivision Control Article of the Code of Public Local Laws of Worcester County, Maryland.) 

§ ZS 1-351. (Amends this new section to the Zoning and Subdivision Control Article to regulate “short term rentals (STR)” to specify that the definition of a “family or housekeeping unit” in the County Zoning Ordinance shall not apply in determining the occupancy limitations for licensed short term rentals, but rather that occupancy limitations shall be determined based upon the maximum occupancy of bedrooms at a ratio of one occupant per fifty square feet of unobstructed floor area; and amends the requirement to provide one additional off-street parking space for short-term rentals to apply only to structures for which a building permit application is received after the effective date of this section.) 

For more information, visit http://www.co.worcester.md.us/sites/default/files/bids/19-3-intro-amendments_0.pdf

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