Ocean City officials relaunch conversation regarding short term rentals

OC officials relaunch conversation...

OCEAN CITY, Md. - After receiving complaints from some homeowners, the Ocean City planning and zoning committee is considering forbidding short term rentals in certain residential neighborhoods, a decision that could spark some controversy.

Short term rentals in residential neighborhoods have been a hot topic in Ocean City for many years now.

Grace Masten, who is on the Board of Directors with Coastal Realtors said, "Well this keeps coming up time and time again over the last four years. This is something that we've been, it's been a concern and it's been raising it's ugly head, I guess, over the last four years."

In a recent planning and zoning meeting, Ocean City officials relaunched the discussion, focusing on the definition of a short term rental. 

Jessica Waters, the spokesperson for the Town of Ocean City said, "The planning commission is trying to come up with a definition that will hopefully be a good compromise to both sides on the issue."

By Worcester County Standards, a short term rental is anything shorter than four months and one day, and anything lower than four months and one day could be considered as commercial land use, which is forbidden in certain neighborhoods.

Officials say homeowners in some of these residential neighborhoods were the ones who initially launched this controversial conversation.

Masten said, "This is something that started in a community that they live in a resort town they have a community there are several owners in that community that did not want short term rentals nextdoor."

Some say if short term rentals are forbidden in any way, it could affect more than just the property owners.

Masten said, "This is what I do for a living. I sell real estate I lease real estate I am very hands on with all of my owners on all of my properties."

Masten said, "Property values in my opinion will absolutely drop."

Instead of banning short term rentals across the board in certain zoning districts, some believe the concerned homeowners should instead come up with an association.

"Here is my thought," Masten said, "Form a homeowners association. Get your homeowners together. You all form whatever restrictions that you want, but don't make it across the board in Ocean City."

Ocean City officials say this is still in the very early stages and nothing has been set in stone.

Ocean City officials are encouraging anyone with concerns to reach out to the Ocean City planning commission or city council members to have those concerns heard.

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