Re: Erica V. Goldfarb’s March 7 letter to the editor, “South Portland limits on short-term rentals punish many for actions of a few.”

As a 47-year resident of South Portland, I believe I have some perspective that may inform the writer as well as your readers’ interests, business and otherwise.

With the explosion of online vacation listings has come a subsequent wave of investors – people who purchase moderately priced homes in our residential neighborhoods – not to become part of a community of neighbors, but to turn those homes into commercial enterprises.

Instead of neighbors, we now have “new economy” investors who pour money into the buildings for the distinct purpose of renting them out to tourists and transients who contribute virtually nothing to the year-round life of the community and local economy. These absentee owners often charge hundreds of dollars a night to people who come and go at all hours, loading and unloading numerous vehicles, hosting “friends and family,” or perhaps other strangers they happen to meet at one of the “vibe” restaurants or bars.

South Portland’s residents have earned the right to maintain their residential neighborhoods. We are people who are here supporting local businesses through the long, cold winters. We have families who ought to be able to enjoy our brief summer. We vote here, pay taxes, volunteer and offer hands-on help without notice – throughout the year.

Until visitors to our wonderful city experience the reality of being surrounded by short-term rentals in their neighborhoods, they will never understand. Mini-motels and boutique hotels do not belong and, truly, are not welcome in residential neighborhoods. There are plenty of other places to host family in areas that are zoned for that type of commercial enterprise. Perhaps the writer would care to welcome those tourists and transients next door to her home in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Peggy Fuller

South Portland

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