Short-term rentals help keep Chatham vital, please do not eliminate them.

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We love Chatham. Some of us live here full-time, and for some of us, Chatham is a bucolic escape from our lives in more hectic places. Our children have grown up here, and equally love it. This is our home. The recent advent of short-term rental opportunities has enabled us to selectively share our homes with carefully vetted folks who want to enjoy a taste of Chatham, and the larger Berkshire Foothills area that we so love. Since these properties are our homes, we carefully vet our renters, collect large security deposits, have more-than-adequate insurance and maintain a local support network to keep an eye on our homes while we are not there. This is a win-win for both individuals, and the community.
 
1.    Homeowners can offset costs, allowing them to keep their homes, and frequently allowing seniors to “age in place” rather than having to leave the community they love—53% of AirBnB hosts report that income earned from hosting has helped them stay in their homes.
 
2.    The village and its shopowners see increased foot traffic and increased sales—research suggests that 42% of the daytime revenue brought by tourists stays in the local community.
 
3.    The larger community thrives because increased employment of local support staff brings jobs and economic vitality to the area.
 
4.    Our visitors experience a vibrant and beautiful Chatham, that they frequently fall in love with so much, they seek to purchase a home here.
 
The restrictions that owners be on premises during a rental and not rent more than 6 times a year will essentially eliminate the short-term rental market and all the good it brings to the community.
 
Well-managed short-term rentals (careful vetting, security deposits, local support) make Chatham more desirable, and, in this fast-changing world, help keep it the very special place it is. Safeguards, such as permitting, make perfect sense and we are all for them. But limiting or eliminating short-term rentals in Chatham is a huge step backward for the town, the village and its residents.
 
This is our home. We want to stay in this very special place, and allow our children to bring their children here as well. Please reconsider these restrictions that will severely limit the options open to residents, and the potential for the community as a whole.