HANOVER — Residents may soon be able to legally rent out rooms in their homes through platforms like Airbnb as the Planning Board considers changes to the zoning ordinances.
The board has scheduled two public listening sessions this month, one on Jan. 21 and one on Jan. 25, to discuss adopting rules changes that could allow for short-term resident rentals, said Vicki Smith, Hanover’s senior planner.
“We want to hear what people would like to have in their neighborhoods,” she said.
The Planning Board is looking to propose new zoning ordinances to be voted on at the May Town Meeting that would open up the options for short-term housing, she said. Currently, no one in town is allowed to participate in Airbnb-type businesses, she said.
That doesn’t mean rentals aren’t happening, though, she said. The town has been receiving complaints about some homeowners renting out part or all of their homes through such business arrangements.
Airbnb and other internet-based business rental programs allow property owners to list short-term home rentals.
Smith said the town wants to balance the need for the rentals with the town’s current housing shortage. People staying in the town for short durations, such as those visiting professors at Dartmouth College, find the hotel accommodations pricey, she said.
At the same time, the town does not have enough housing and town officials do not want to make that problem worse, she said.
“We have a housing shortage here and it’s hard enough to find a place to live,” she said. “Potentially having investors buy properties for short-term rentals exacerbates that issue.”
Smith said one option the board members are considering is to require homeowners to live on site as hosts when they rent part of their property, and not allow un-hosted rentals.
Both listening sessions are set for Room 212 of the R.W. Black community center at 48 Lebanon St. Residents unable to attend are encouraged to send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.