CAMDEN — The Planning Board considered options for regulating short-term rentals during a Tuesday, April 12, workshop and it was noted the town hired a firm to determine the extent of such rentals in the community.

Ethan Shaw of the Planning Board said a 10 percent increase in Airbnb’s, or short-term rentals, results in a point-four-two percent increase in rents and a point-seven-six percent increase in the prices of homes. He said that does not sound like much until you consider the increase in short-term rentals has not been 10 percent, but 800 percent.

Planning and Development Director Jeremy Martin said he is meeting soon with the firm Granticus, which will provide the town with a full report on short-term rental activity in Camden and the surrounding area.

Concerns about short-term rentals were raised in several areas. Short-term rentals are not subject to the strict regulations set for hotels, inns and bed-and-breakfast operations, and one of those areas is health and safety regulation.

Martin raised concerns about fires, noting when you are in your own home, you know the layout and can hopefully get out in a fire. Without proper health and safety requirements, a short-term rental fire could be more of a concern.

The group discussed including an inspection requirement in the ordinances so the code officer and fire chief would check out short-term rentals for safety. The cost of the inspections would be passed on to the owner of the rental unit in the fee for the licensing.

Short-term rentals cause a decrease in worker housing for people doing jobs in the town, the board noted. These rentals also decrease affordable housing.

Christopher Rheault worried about the capacities of these rentals, saying he has seen two-bedroom homes with listings stating they can sleep eight. He said he knows of a neighbor to his Cushing property with a barn-based short-term-rental that rents to as many as 30 in a weekend, and the owner is not at the property.

Not only are fires a concern, but he noted there have been other accidents in the state caused by too many people crowded into a building, including the collapse of a deck.

In addition, he said there are costs to the town from this influx of tourists in terms of sewerage, trash disposal and general infrastructure.

The board talked about tourists staying at short-term rentals trying to stuff a truckload of trash into downtown dumpsters rather than disposing of it properly.

The board liked the rules in place in Cape Elizabeth, which bans short-term rentals on non-owner-occupied primary residences, unless the lot is at least 7 acres in size. It also charges a $500 license fee to all short-term rentals.

Shaw said there is a school of thought, though he was not sure he subscribes to it, that the lack of regulation for short-term rentals is unfair when hotels and other traditional lodging establishments have to jump through more regulatory hoops.

He added hotels and other such lodging establishments in the area have been doing well for a long time and charging high fees. He likes that short-term rentals allow dogs in some cases.

Mark Siegenthaler of the board said he did not think it was the Planning Board’s job to protect or stabilize an industry. He wanted to stick to land use.

Jeanne Hollingsworth said the lodging industry has the advantage of being able to charge by the night.

Shaw said residents are allowed to make money on their property, but the board is concerned about absentee owners who buy properties as investments and take them from people who would want to live here year-round.

Patt Chen said she would like to keep it from getting any worse.

The towns at this point have the right to regulate short-term rentals. Statewide legislation concerning issues around housing and the need for affordable housing has been considered and debated recently.

The Planning Board took up the issue due to a discussion in the March 15 Select Board meeting in which Vice Chair Alison McKellar questioned whether proposed ordinance changes aimed at increasing affordable housing, including allowing duplexes, could lead to an increase in short-term rentals.