A panel that has been studying the issue of short-term rentals for more than a year is recommending that inspections of the residences be required to receive a permit.

Short-term rental ad hoc committee Chair Callie Black made a presentation to the Rockland City Council at its Monday night, March 2 meeting.

Black said for the safety of people, the committee is recommending annual inspections for non-owner occupied short-term rentals and every other year for units where the owner lives there.

At a November 2019 meeting, committee member Fletcher Smith said inspections would not only make the community safer but promote Rockland to visitors as a safe community.

Black said if the Council wants to raise the current cap on the number of non-owner occupied rentals, it should consider ways to protect neighborhoods by limiting the number per block or require them to be 300 feet or so away from each other.

And non-owner occupied rentals should be limited to no shorter than five nights.

The City Council voted in November 2018 to create the committee and appointed members the following month.

The City Council set a cap in February 2018 of 45 for non-owner occupied short-term rentals.

The waiting list of property owners who want to offer their properties for short-term rentals that are not owner occupied has grown to 23.