Worcester County

(Aug. 9, 2019) All residential rentals Worcester County government’s jurisdiction may be required to obtain a rental license for the 2020 season, if amendments to the county’s zoning code earn approval.

The Worcester County Planning Commission on Aug. 1 agreed to propose several amendments to the Boarding and Lodging Rentals section of the county code, and introduced four different pieces of legislation.

The first clarifies definitions, such as removing the terms “conversion of architecturally significant dwellings into an inn” and “country inns” and classifies them as “bed and breakfast establishment.” 

“It was a mess,” Ed Tudor, Director of Development Review and Permitting, said. “We’re trying to clean up those definitions.”

The second bill repeals a section concerning the Tourist Permits from Taxation and Revenue Article and creates a new section, Rental Licenses. This requires rental licenses for any type of residential property used for rentals. Currently, not all residential rentals are required to have a license.

“It was based on the number of people you were renting to and the term that you were renting for,” Tudor said. “It excluded a lot of stuff.”

The third bill updates the language of the Taxation and Revenue Article so it is consistent with other changes. The fourth bill repeals a section pertaining to  moble and manufactured home park licenses and eliminates the mobile home excise tax. 

Tudor emphasized that in order to make any changes to residential rental requirements, the county commissioners must first approve the bill requiring all residential rentals obtain a license. 

During the planning commission meeting, Tudor highlighted that the amendment includes requiring one additional parking space for all single-family dwellings at the suggestions of the Worcester County Commissioners. Currently, only two parking spaces are required. This would add at least one additional parking spot, with potential for more.

“I completely understand the commissioner’s concern,” Tudor said. “I get it, but at the same time too, you got to consider you’re taking up more land.” 

The planning commission will study whether to add required parking spaces as a separate issue. 

Commissioner Marlene Ott moved to give a favorable recommendation to the text amendment and Commissioner Jay Knerr seconded. The four bills will be presented to the county commissioners at their next meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 20.  

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