Warren, Vermont Town Hall

At its June 24 meeting, the Warren Planning Commission continued to hear feedback on a draft version of an ordinance that would require Short Term Rental (STR) owners to register with the town and comply with a series of safety standards.



A handful of STR owners told commissioners that some requirements in the draft ordinance – including safety requirements that planning commission chair Dan Raddock called “good neighbor stuff” related to things like noise and trash storage – are burdensome for owners.

“Requiring an approval from zoning administrators for properties already compliant with local zoning and occupancy permits is an overreach of regulatory authority,” a property owner said.

In recent weeks, the planning commission made several changes to the draft ordinance after receiving similar public feedback. Raddock said the town does not want to create onerous rules for STR owners. 

Safety requirements aside, property owners were also concerned about restrictive STR regulations that could arise down the road. The ordinance, which would be active for two years, would create a registry of STR properties and allow the town to collect data about STR ownership – of which the town knows very little from a quantitative perspective. The town’s long-term goal is to draw on that data to inform policy decisions about the STR market, if municipal leaders chose to.


Commissioners have stressed repeatedly that they do not intend to greatly restrict or ban STRs in Warren.

The planning commission began discussing the idea to collect data on STR ownership about a year ago, starting from the question of whether and how the local STR market may be impacting the availability of long-term housing for local people and those working seasonal jobs that support tourist industries.

Discussion among property owners at the June 24 meeting highlighted differing viewpoints about housing insecurity and the future of Warren. One property owner said that seasonal workers should realize that "this is a vacation town… If you get a job at the ski area, you know you’re not going to get a place to stay here. It is what it is.”

Some disagreed with that sentiment, like a property owner who said that her hope was to see increased long-term housing for local residents, which is practically nonexistent today. She said she would like to see the town go further by working to reduce the prevalence of STRs, “just as somebody who grew up here and has seen how this community has changed.”

Another property owner said she rents her Warren home out on a short-term basis in order to make college tuition payments for her kids. She said it’s difficult to find long-term renters who can afford a monthly rent that covers the cost of her mortgage, insurance and property tax payments. “If middle class people actually try to own property beyond the house they’re living in, this is the only way you can actually afford to do it,” she added.

Commissioner Macon Phillips said that the story of local people who are using Airbnb to supplement their income is “a scenario here that I think is really important to hold up as something we want to protect.”

But as far as the town’s current plan to create a registry and begin collecting data on STRs, “the idea that we wouldn’t do anything is just a non-starter,” Phillips added.

The planning commission’s next meeting is on July 8. The draft ordinance will soon go to the Warren Select Board for additional discussion and a vote. Community members can read the draft ordinance at planning.warrevt.org