At last week’s monthly town board meeting, John Mansfield appeared before trustees to discuss an issue he says is critical. Mansfield, who had requested to be on the agenda in advance, said he was concerned about short-term rentals in Norwood.
He said nationwide AirBnB and VRBO have become problematic in communities because they negatively affect local housing.
Mansfield said entire neighborhoods and towns can be changed by corporations and finance groups, which are buying up properties as investments. Those buyers then make a lot of money off of short-term stays. The consequence is losing what could be long-term housing that locals need in order to stay and be part of the workforce.
“It destroys community,” he said. I’m asking us to regulate this. … ”
Mansfield said surrounding communities like Ridgway and Dolores have already put regulations in place that limit the number of short-term rentals that can be available in town. He also reminded the audience of what was currently happening in Telluride, where the short-term rental issue has blown up, the workforce has nearly no housing, and businesses are cutting back hours or closing altogether.
“I’m afraid of losing community … and neighborhoods that have no neighbors,” he said. “No PTA, no boards, no school kids … ghost towns.”
Mansfield told Norwood officials that he would be willing to do work on the issue, put a proposal together and then bring it back to town trustees. He said he wanted approval to move forward on the issue. He also requested one board member to work with him on the issue.
“(The Town of) Dolores said get on it fast before you have a problem,” he said. “They came up with a ratio number. They feel theirs is 22 (short-term rental licenses).”
On the contrary, Demien Brooks, who was in attendance of the meeting, told the board sometimes there may be a need for short-term rentals. He said workers in the area doing solar projects need a place temporarily to stay.
Trustee Candy Meehan said she understood there were four short-term rentals currently in the Norwood area. She said she wondered how many were in the actual town limits and how many short-term rentals the town could sustain without having it affect local housing. She said the issue should go before the Planning & Zoning board, so they can work on it too. Meehan agreed to be the board member that looked into the issue with Mansfield.
Trustee Shawn Fallon thanked Mansfield for bringing the issue to the town.
“I am with you,” he said. “Telluride … it’s not good what is going on right now. I favor looking into this and deciding how many we should limit it to.”
Trustee Jaime Schultz said wanted to see the numbers.
“There is no secret what is happening in Telluride right now,” she said. “I don’t want that to happen to us.”
“Let’s stay ahead of it,” Mayor Kieffer Parrino said. “Norwood has done a great job of staying ahead of possible situations that could get out of control.”
Patti Grafmyer said town planner Henry Hemphill has the experience and can also look at the issue. Hemphill, who was in attendance, said he was happy to assist the town in the short-term rental investigation.