Coupeville restricts short-term rentals

Coupeville is adding stricter regulations on short-term rentals as a way to address the lack of housing and to preserve “social character” of its neighborhoods.

The town council voted unanimously Tuesday night to amend its transient accommodation ordinance, after more than a year of evaluating the rules.

The effort began as a response to the rise in internet vacation rental sites, such as Airbnb and VRBO.

The new regulations require annual licensing for bed and breakfasts and other transient accommodations, limits the number of rooms in certain zones and prohibits certain activities at short-term rentals. The changes are meant to minimize the impact on long-term housing availability, preserve the character of residential neighborhoods, reduce land-use incompatibility, facilitate more responsiveness to potential issues and to protect health and safety of guests, according to a memo on the amendments.

The new regulations take effect Dec. 19.

The town received numerous comments on the code, representing many in favor of stricter regulations and many who felt the changes would hurt local businesses.

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