Letter to the Editor: The Impact of Short Term Rentals in Talbot County

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The County Council is considering adding an enforcement department to our county bureaucracy as a way to deal with the problems arising from Short Term Rentals (STRs) in the county. This is a much needed step to manage the current 132 STRs in Talbot county — all of which are located in the Western part of the county. (See map below).

Why do we need this department? Let me relate just one recent incident.

We were awakened quite early Sunday morning to hear a very loud, shrill alarm from the septic system at neighboring Ingleton Circle — in alarm mode due to some fault that occurred (it is one of the new BAT systems).

I called the owner’s representative at the two numbers provided. One number just rang and rang; there was no answer at the other, and as the voicemail box was full, I couldn’t reach anyone or even leave a message. As recommended, I then called the County. There was no answer at Planning & Zoning. So, I called the main number for the County Council; no answer there either. The recorded message sent me back to the same number I just called — at this point I am just running in circles. I called the Talbot County main number. No answer there either. What to do?

Around 8:30, I went over to the house. I found 9 cars parked about the driveway and on the lawn (picture attached below). Which means to me that there were somewhere between 9 and 18+ people staying in this modest-sized house. No wonder the septic system failed. The nice lady who answered my knock on the door was as baffled as I as to what to do about the alarm, saying they were just renters. The alarm continued to wail.

We need the County to establish a meaningful enforcement program for the existing STRs in Talbot County to fix these problems. I also ask that the County Council cap the number of STRs at the current level of 132 so that we can take the time to figure out a better approach for all the citizens of Talbot County.

As an additional point, we citizens of Talbot County do not need to have our tax dollars used for this enforcement department. The full cost of an additional enforcement department should be charged to these 132 STRs — most of them owned by corporations and/or non-residents — as an annual license fee, charged as a cost of doing business running an STR in Talbot County.

Scott Kane
Easton

Letters to Editor

  1. David Lloyd says:

    Well said. Particularly the last point re use of County tax money to enforce regulations. There must be limits and restrictions — both of which the County Council is considering. Let’s hope they will listen to those who spoken up for the rest of us!

  2. Elaine Dickinson says:

    The map is excellent but undercounts the STRs in my little village of Neavitt. We have 8 and ALL the owners except one live out of town. Mostly DC, PA, Annapolis and Western Shore. These are investors, not residents.

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