2018-03-09 / Letters

Let’s embrace tourists, short-term rentals

To the editor:

As the short-term rental debate flows, with a petition circulating to require the South Portland city council to reconsider its decision about the drastic change it made in home owners’ abilities to rent their homes to visitors, I would like to weigh in.

There are clearly many sides to this story. For me, the inconvenience of our summer visitors is worth allowing for a couple of good reasons.

The shear joy I see on the faces of our visitors when they can walk to a beautiful, safe beach with their children in the summer, or meander up our safe sidewalks to get great snacks and meals, or couples can relax and unwind from lives that don’t include this beauty. I know I love to go to new places for just the same reasons, and I live here for those reasons as well.

Second, financially, our summer visitors are a huge boon not just for our town, but for our state. We are Vacationland and many residents must do all they can to nurture themselves financially during just a couple months each year. As a safe underestimate, if you take 282 short-term rentals in South Portland alone, multiplied by an average of $7,500 per year, that’s more than $2 million that goes back into our economy and the economy of our small, local businesses that clearly benefits as well, many of whom I’m afraid will struggle without that summer visitors boost.

I hope we get all the signatures we need to reconsider this massive reversal of so many people’s lives – not just for those who want to share their homes with visitors, but for the visitors themselves. We will lose a tremendous amount of goodwill and financial boost from vacationers. Don’t let a few bad apples spoil the whole barrel.

Alex Taylor South Portland

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