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Without adopting new regulations, Board of Health will ask short term rental owners to attest compliance with dozens of regulations

Side stepping the established regulatory process, the Board of Health will ask short term rental owners to “self attest” compliance with dozens of regulations. Without proper regulatory approval, the forms approved today by the Board of Health could face non-compliance without consequence.

The Board is asking short term rental owners to submit: a short term rental registration, self attestation affidavit and good neighbor guidelines forms by May 28th.

“These are not regulations…these are spreading information and gathering information,” said Board of Health Chair Barry Potvin. The Board plans to pursue official regulations this fall.

Helm favors new tax on residential development

Selectman candidate Harry Helm endorsed the concept of a tax on new residential development to combat the “cost” of growth in Plymouth. Helm, a real estate salesperson, opposes a building moratorium and supports raising the commercial tax base to 30% of property tax revenue.

Helm is challenging incumbent Selectman Kenneth Tavares in the May election. All candidates are encouraged to contact 1620Today with news and announcements relative to this year’s Town elections.

In comments made on Facebook Helm said, “Our current new home construction scenario is untenable. Given that it costs about $15,000 before Chapter 70 funding to educate 1 student for 1 year ( and Plymouth is not out of the norm here) it’s not difficult to see that, even before figuring Police, Fire and DPW costs, nearly every new residence with even only 1 child is a net tax loss and increases everyone else’s taxes.”

Any local development tax would likely require legislative approval.

“I feel safe in my belief that developers would pass this on to buyers,” Helm added. The money raised from the proposed tax would go into a fund to “help offset the net tax loss these [new residences] represent,”

Pine Hills construction.

Selectmen/Planning Board joint meeting cancellation explained

WATD has the back story as to why the joint meeting of the Selectmen and the Planning Board was canceled.

Apparently, the developers who prevailed at the Planning Board meeting in March wrote a letter calling the joint meeting “concerning” and inferred possible legal action. It’s unclear what legal standing the developer would have to sue, given that they already won the approval they were seeking from the Planning Board.

A vote Planning Board Chairman Malcolm MacGregor called “the worst motion I’ve seen on this board in the past 35 years”.

Selectmen Chairman Ken Tavares said the joint meeting was to discuss covenants in general, not specifically the Bump Rock Road issue. The Town has approximately 80 covenants, similar to the Bump Rock Road covenant, protecting open space across Town.

Video of the final Planning Board vote.

Town won’t consider new aquaculture applications for 90 days

The Town won’t consider any new aquaculture applications or transfers for the next 90 days, with the expectation the federal government will soon make a final determination if the current aquaculture areas will continue to be authorized. Pending application and transfer requests will be considered if filed before tonight’s moratorium.

Harbormaster Chad Hunter told the Board of Selectmen that if the FDA re-classifies a portion of the aquaculture areas it might be necessary to reconfigure the current licenses.

The Board of Selectmen approved the moratorium by a vote of 3-1.

Growers will still have the ability to plant seed, cull, move gear and sell, according to the Harbormaster. The FDA, which regulates seafood, is considering a crackdown of aquaculture near water treatment plant outflow pipes, like the Plymouth outfall pipe.

Plymouth outfall pipe location (red dot). Source: Urban Harbors Institute.

Board of Health will require short term rental owners to submit state certificate to Town

The Board of Health will require all short term rental owners to submit to the Town a copy of their state certificate before the beginning of the summer rental season. Despite the lack of authority under state law and the inability to issue a fine for non-compliance, the board will also request owners to sign a “Short Term Rental Affidavit” in which the owner self attests adherence with dozens of regulations and codes.

The submission of the state certificate, would need to be in person to the Board of Health office at Town Hall. The board will most likely be drafting a distinct short term rental by law for consideration at the fall Town Meeting. Platforms like AirBnB require a copy of the state certificate to post a listing, taxes are collected through the platforms and remitted to the state and then the Town.