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As a former 25-year resident of Chester and now Deep River, I’m compelled to comment on the AirBnB controversy. Chester’s action [on a proposed, short-term rental zoning regulation] won’t only affect the residents of Chester, but also surrounding towns and visitors from around the country.
I’ve stayed at homes ranging from the guest house of movie star to a horse ranch to a tiny house. As a host of a home in Vermont, I have guests coming with nothing but glowing reviews from neighbors and guests. The income generated allows me to pay my taxes and keep up with expenses and maintenance, adding value to the community. Most people don’t host as a business; it’s a means of keeping and preserving the quality of the property.
Traveling, I experienced the local community not possible if cooped up in a Motel 6. I met local people, and spent significant funds in the local economy. We shopped local restaurants and stores and enjoyed the community, unlike any hotel experience would allow. Hosting, I have a family returning again this year from Texas for two months to visit with parents from Boston.
Residents of the lower valley have few options for guest housing. Allowing a reasonably regulated short-term rental market would provide many local options for visiting family, business travelers, and enterprises like the Goodspeed. Significant trade is generated for local businesses, as opposed to supporting towns that have many lodging choices.
I hope officials consider adoption of regulations that allow the growth of this important service, which can provide real value for all residents. We shouldn’t let the actions of one bad situation ruin what can be a very good service for all, we should create rules that hold accountable any party that exceeds the intent of this very important program.
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