KENNEBUNKPORT – There will be a few new short-term rental licenses available in the 2023 season  to those who own residential property, Kennebunkport selectmen determined at their Thursday, Aug. 11 meeting.

Selectmen agreed to raise the cap on licenses from 9.2 percent of the number of dwelling units in Kennebunkport outside the Goose Rocks Beach area to 9.5 percent – yielding seven new short-term rental licenses. Had the board opted to raise the cap to 10 percent from 9.2 percent, 19 new licenses would have been created, according to figures supplied by the town’s planning department.

Selectmen in Kennebunkport agreed to raise the cap on licenses from 9.2 percent of the number of dwelling units in Kennebunkport outside the Goose Rocks Beach area to 9.5 percent – yielding seven new short-term rental licenses. Dan King photo

Still, there could be a few more licenses available in addition to the seven new ones available as a result of raising the cap.  Licenses do not transfer when a property changes ownership, with some exceptions, such as transfer of a property to a spouse, children and grandchildren. As of Aug. 11, two short-term rental properties have been sold that do not qualify for an exception, Kennebunkport officials said.

People who already own short-term rental licenses do not have to reapply but must register and pay the annual fee for the upcoming 2023 season. The online portal opens on the first Monday in October and closes Dec. 31 said Community Planner Eli Rubin. The fee is unchanged from this year – $325 for a rental with up to three bedrooms, and $575 for a rental with four or more bedrooms.

The formula is based on the number of dwelling units in Kennebunkport and the percentage of short-term rental housing licenses outside a defined neighborhood in Goose Rocks Beach. The Goose Rocks Beach neighborhood is not subject to a licensing cap “due to the historic nature and long-standing tradition of short-term rentals” there, according to the ordinance, though owners are required to obtain a license and renew it annually.

Rubin said there were 405 short-term rental licenses issued town-wide for 2022, where there was a total of 3,073 dwelling units. Excluding Goose Rocks Beach, there were 2,423 dwelling units, and 223 short-term rental licenses, hence the 9.2 percent figure calculated for 2022.


Kennebunkport voters approved the short-term rental ordinance that applies to properties rented for periods of 30 days or less, 627-565 in June 2021. The intent, spelled out in the ordinance preamble, “is to ensure that residential neighborhoods are not unduly impacted by the operation of short-term rentals within the town.” The ordinance tasks selectmen to set the cap annually.

A Cape Porpoise resident, Susan Bassett, said she rents her home just two weeks out of the year, to help maintain the property.

“I don’t see how any of this is solving the problem of housing and how it will (stop) change,” she said in part, asking why she must pay a fee to rent her home. She noted the value of the property has increased by $245,000 in the most recent valuation.

“It’s all communism,” said a man in the audience. He was invited to speak at the podium, but declined.

Selectmen chair Ed Hutchins said the ordinance exists “a protection to make it so our entire town isn’t sold out.”

“I have an obligation to protect the year-round residents, not (just) the people who want to buy and rent property,” said Hutchins.


Rubin reminded current license holders they do not have to reapply for approval to rent, but do need to renew.

He said new licenses will be processed in the order submitted.

Town Manager Laurie Smith advised those seeking new licenses for short-term rentals to do so early in the process.

“I would want to be online that first (Monday) in October and apply then,” she said. She noted the portal opens that morning as the town office opens. “It will be first come, first serve for new licenses.”

She said people wanting new licenses should get their documents in order prior to the October portal opening date.

A new legislative commission is poised to dig into short-term rentals and the impact on the lack of affordable housing in Maine, according to an Aug. 3 Portland Press Herald story.

According to the story, the panel will review data on housing shortages, conversion of apartments and homes to short-term rentals, and zoning and land-use rules. It also will consider the possibility of statewide regulation of short-term rentals as well as policies to encourage more affordable housing. The commission is to submit a report to the Legislature by early November.

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