The Town of Westport held its first public hearing on short-term-rental licensing this week. After discussion, two licenses were granted by the town board at the Sept. 16 meeting.
Janet Lottig and Andrew Howick were approved a license for their home on Wakanda Drive.
“For the last three to four years,” Lottig said, “we have been renting out one or two rooms in our home…We’ve been extremely conscious about the need for guests that respect our neighbors, and monitor the noise level. As a result, we have had no complaints from neighbors.”
Lottig said her and Howick’s home is what could be considered an ideal short-term rental.
“We feel that our Airbnb represents the best of what this type of lodging and hosting should offer for the guests,” Lottig said, “the community and the hosts.”
The couple began renting out rooms after their two daughters had moved out of the house.
“We live in the home,” Lottig said, “and our policy has been that one of us will be on site when we have guests. Guests stay with us an average of two weekends a month in the summer, and then we have almost no guests in the winter.”
Lottig addressed concerns about tenants stealing from homeowners – or their neighbors – while renting a residence through Airbnb.
“They have to submit identifying information to Airbnb,” Lottig said. “And when they book, we get their photo, their address and their telephone number. So we know who we’re letting into our home. If they wanted to rob us, that’d be kind of a stupid thing to do.”
Kenneth Lambrecht received a license for his rental on Wakanda Drive as well.
His neighbor, Rob Metcalfe, objected. Metcalfe cited a lack of parking on Lambrecht’s property, and said that tenants often resort to parking their vehicles on the side of the street.
“I would have a lot less issues with this if the Airbnb owner were even somewhat considerate,” Metcalfe said. “My main issue has to do with parking. And it’s not even about my ability to park there. This Airbnb has no off-street parking whatsoever.”
The town board approved Lambrecht’s license, noting that future renters would need to park on his property rather than out in the street.
The owners of a rental on Cobblestone Lane agreed to cease operations by the end of this month.