KENNEBUNKPORT – Select board members have learned that 73 percent of the town’s licensed short-term rental properties are owned by people who are not town residents, according to their mailing addresses.

At a recent meeting  selectman Mike Weston said that ought to be taken into consideration as the board discusses setting a cap on licenses for next year.

“My intent would be that whatever cap we set, we will regulate that number, so it doesn’t grow like it has grown in the past several years,” said Weston.

His remarks came after hearing from Community Planner Eli Rubin, who updated the board on short-term rental licenses in this, the first year of the requirement after residents approved the ordinance in June. The intent of the ordinance, says the preamble, is “to ensure that residential neighborhoods are not unduly impacted by the operation of short-term rentals within the town.”

So far, 405 short-term rental properties have been licensed. Rubin told the board on Thursday, April 14, that 109 properties (27 percent) are owned by town residents. He noted that the number was determined by mailing addresses for tax bills.

“We may want to wait and see how the summer goes,” before setting a cap, said select board chair Sheila Matthews-Bull.


Weston disagreed.

“It’s especially alarming to me that 73 percent are owned by people who don’t live here. Why wait? We already know how many we have,” said Weston. “We said once we knew, we would set a cap.”

“I agree Mike, we do need to have a cap,” said selectman Allen Daggett.

Rubin  noted that among the 405 licenses, there are 338 unique license holders. There are seven applicants who hold three licenses each, and 23 who hold two licenses each.

As of the meeting date, there were three short-term rentals being advertised that had not registered, Rubin said.

In late January owners were given an extension to Feb. 28 to obtain short-term rental licenses. Rubin said seven late applications were approved during that time, and three were declined – for reasons like not having a required prior short-term rental history, or an entity not being considered a dwelling unit.


As for the cap, selectman Ed Hutchins said it would be helpful to know how many full-time year ar0und residents there are in Kennebunkport, along with how many licenses are in Goose Rocks Beach. Under the ordinance, licensed short-term rentals located in the defined Goose Rocks Beach neighborhood are not counted toward the total number of short-term rental licenses to be set annually by selectmen.

Planning director Werner Gilliam noted the ordinance does reference percentages of dwelling units. And he said, the cap is intended to apply to the number of additional licenses.

The cap matter is expected to be decided once the selectmen have more information.

Planners said they are currently dealing with some complaints, ranging from tenants parking in areas other than designated spaces, to paperwork issues like a home being identified as having five bedrooms when it really has six.

Rubin said the planning staff has been working with property owners and complainants to find resolutions,  and are establishing criteria that would decide which sort of complaints would be brought to the selectmen’s board.

A phone line to report a suspected  short-term rental property violation is available 24 hours a day at: 204-3980. Complaints may also be registered online at

Rubin said a list of short-term rental licenses will be available soon on the town website.

Planners said code enforcement would be contacting property owners and managers, starting in May, to schedule short-term rental unit inspections, which are required every five years.

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