On January 20, 2021

Killington short-term rental registrations lag despite new mandate

By Curt Peterson

The town of Killington initiated a new short-term rental (STR) registration program in November, after residents voted to approved the zoning change.

Zoning Administrator Preston Bristow told the Mountain Times that of the estimated 507 eligible short-term rental units in Killington, 394 have been registered and assigned program numbers as of Jan. 21.

At a select board meeting earlier this month Killington resident Roger Rivera said he felt it has been considerable time since residents were promised enforcement of occupancy limits, zoning regulations and health and safety inspections such as overburdened septic systems and parking overflow.

Selectman Jim Haff responded that designing the program, holding multiple hearings, and responding to residents’ and STR owners’ concerns took up a lot of the time, followed by the required vote.

When the ordinance was adopted in November, the registration deadline was set for Jan. 1.

A database listing all STRs had to be created, Haff explained, which Bristow and Ken Wonsor now say they will have completed by the end of January.

Bristow said some STR owners or managers have filed registration forms but have yet to pay the registrations fees, and others have paid fees without providing completed paperwork, so the “unregistered” number is fluid.

“There are fewer than 100 who have not responded to the STR requirement at all,” Bristow said. “Some other units are in limbo over disagreements about how many bedrooms their permits allow. And, if they report more than four bedrooms, some will require additional inspections,” he said, adding, “These amount to less than two dozen.”

“We will be following up on the 150 or so actual laggers at the end of the month” Bristow said on Tuesday.

The Killington Group, which assured Bristow they have been in favor of the STR ordinance from the beginning, has asked for some leeway due to the large numbers of properties for which they are responsible for registering.

The data base will be provided to the various rental platforms property owners use to advertise STRs – the contracted monitoring company will advise the town of any owners advertising unregistered STRs or accommodation numbers larger than their registered limit.

Bristow will manage enforcement, he said.

Killington Rentals president David McComb questioned how neighbors’ complaints about parking, noise and other issues would be handled.

Bristow said there is a 24-hour Killington hotline phone number – 802-308-3659 – answered by a live person, at which complainants may register their issues anonymously, including an email form for filing complaints, videos, photos, etc. Information can be found on the town website.

Police Chief Whit Montgomery said any extra documentation is helpful when the police are busy when the call comes in.

Once the database is completed, Bristow said, the public will be able to access information about all registered STR properties.

“Some people think the project has been slow to materialize, and that we have been dragging our feet,” Bristow said. “But I think it is accomplishing exactly what it was intended to accomplish, and that makes the time spent worthwhile.”

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