Heather Hale owns an Airbnb in South Portland and told WGME, CBS 13, the short-term rentals help businesses thrive in her neighborhood. Credit: CBS 13

South Portland city councilors will take up a controversial issue on whether or not to restrict short-term housing in the city.

South Portland city councilors say they’ve received several complaints from residents living near homes that are being rented out as Airbnb’s that’s making them take a closer look at if they should ban them in the City of South Portland.

The South Portland City Council says they’ve been discussing the issue since last summer and have created an ordinance that will prevent short term rentals in residential areas and in situations where the owner isn’t present.

If passed, there would be restrictions on the number of people allowed in a short term rental and the building’s owner would need to be there.

Short term rentals would still be allowed in areas zoned for commercial use.

City Councilor Susan Henderson says they created the ordinance after several complaints from residents.

“Constituents started sending me emails saying there was complaints in the neighborhood and it was overtaking the neighborhood and becoming a problem for people living in their homes as families,” Henderson said.

Those who rent our their properties through Airbnb, however, say the short-term rentals help increase traffic for neighborhood businesses.

“I do understand the issues going on, there needs to be restrictions and regulations, because people are taking advantage of it. But I definitely think [short-term rentals are] something the community will thrive on,” Heather Hale, who owns an Airbnb in South Portland, told CBS 13. “The businesses need it. I mean, there are five coffee shops right in the Willard area right now. I think that’s why it’s grown so much, because of AirBnb, and I just don’t think it should be taken away.”

The City Council plans to vote on the ordinance Tuesday. If approved, it will go to a public hearing later this month.

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