Council Subcommittee To Take Up Short-Term Rental Issues Here

By Adam Swift

Ward 5 Councilor Angela Guarino-Sawaya wants to put an end to short-term rentals such as AirBnBs in single family zoning districts. At last week’s city council meeting, Guarino-Sawaya introduced a motion requesting the mayor ask the city planner to draft an ordinance prohibiting the use in the single-family districts. “This all stems from me having an issue in the Point of Pines,” said the councillor. “There are a ton of AirBnBs all over the place, and the city is aware of some of them, but what happens is they are closed down but then they reopen and are being used all over again.” Guarino-Sawaya said the short-term rental use in the Point of Pines neighborhood is a problem, where homes are being purchased as non-primary residences and are being used as commercial properties by people who do not live in Revere. “The ordinance states that you have to be owner-occupied, but it’s not like that,” said Guarino-Sawaya. A number of the homes are owned by people who reside in Revere for six months of the year, but it is still considered owner-occupied, she added. “Parking is being affected,” said Guarino-Sawaya. “It is 24-7 parking in the Point of Pines, and what’s happening is these AirBnBers are coming in and taking over parking spots and residents can’t park.” Ward 4 Councillor Paul Argenzio said he is not opposed to Guarino-Sawaya’s motion, but added that he would like the city solicitor to appear before the council to discuss the issue. “There’s been a lot of litigation across the Commonwealth about short-term rentals, and sometimes the cities prevail and sometimes the homeowners prevail,” said Argenzio. “Since the short-term rental office has been in existence, about 1,100 listings existed at the time of inception, and now there are about 115. I’d hate to pass anything that anyone challenges in court and then we find ourselves more or less shooting ourselves in the foot.” Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna said that in addition, the city needs to address issues with rooming houses in neighborhoods. Councillor-at-Large Marc Silvestri said it was a good motion, but agreed with Argenzio that before the council moves forward with it, it should get feedback from the city solicitor. Councillor-at-Large Michelle Kelley also said she had some concerns with the legal aspects and would like more information about the implications of the motion. Council President Anthony Cogliandro praised the job done by the short term rental office, but noted that there are also illegal short-term rentals that pay fines and continue to rent out properties. The motion was referred to the council’s legislative affairs subcommittee for further discussion.

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