Five tapped to serve on Rockland short-term rental board

By Stephen Betts | Nov 30, 2018
Photo by: Stephen Betts

Rockland — The first five nominations to the city committee that will recommend short-term rental regulations have been submitted to the City Council.

Mayor Lisa Westkaemper has nominated Cheryl Michaelsen, Fletcher Smith, Kathryn Fogg, Tina LaVie, and Annie Higbee to Rockland's Ad Hoc Short-Term Rental Task Force & Study Group.

The City Council voted unanimously Nov. 14 to create the seven-member committee.

The task force is directed to come up with recommendations within six months, with the possibility of a six-month extension. The group must hold a public workshop after four months.

The committee was created at the suggestion of two people who were on competing sides of the issue, but who came together to recommend the council form such a task force.

Smith, owner of SummerMaine, which manages rentals, and Michaelsen, owner of the Berry Manor Inn, went before the council Nov. 5 with the proposal.

The council will vote on the nominations Dec. 10.

Comments (9)
Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Dec 05, 2018 10:37

First to your comment Doug.  Interesting committee is made up of all women.  Second I thought Annie Higbee lived in Owls head and is in the Real estate business ?   Shouldn't the committee members live in Rockland and shouldn't the members represent both sides of the issue ?  I have to say I agree with Jim Leach who has a lifetime of experience in the rental business.  Why waste our time on a committee, lets just implement regulations that level the playing field and move forward.  The spring rental season will be here soon enough and there are several ladies on this committee that are anxious to get a good result.  I personally favor more business for Rockland

Posted by: James Clinton Leach | Dec 03, 2018 07:39

Why not save everyone time and require inspections of these short term rentals, have a minimum stay of 3 days... I can say I have never stayed more than 3 days at a B&B, that would appease the B&B owner ( just one that's unhappy correct ?). Short term rentals currently require special insurance, be licensed and have intown management / caretaker of sorts nearby. Most short term rentals are homes not apartments and have  little to no effect on long term rentals ..Many of the homes being rented short term if not allowed too would just be vacant much of time,  the rent would be out of reach for most, and the market for single family rentals is low, the reason is families are not moving to Rockland they are moving away because of our below average school rating...that to me would be a great reason to start a task force to get to the bottom of our poor rating. One thought is pay our teachers more, we are sure spending the $ on buildings the teaches are left behind. ...

Posted by: John Snow | Nov 30, 2018 17:47

I know that neighborhoods can suffer when short-term rentals result in excessive noise and parking issues, so it will be interesting to see what is proposed, but don't think for a minute that Smith and Michaelsen are thinking about the good of the general community.  They both have business models to protect.  They are different models, but both are threatened by the Air BnB phenomenon. This is politics, and if I were in their shoes I would be doing the same thing.  Keep your eyes open.


Smith and Michaelsen will do everything they can to squash the air BnB phenomenon.  They will both look to protect their business model, and it's understandable that they do so.

Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Nov 30, 2018 16:48

Not sure why those who oppose short-term rentals, especially local innkeepers, will decide that only short-term rentals where the owner resides will be approved. The majority of long term rentals, in Rockland, and anywhere else, do not have live-in landlords.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Nov 30, 2018 15:12

One person on there owns a house in Rockland but rumor has it her child goes to school in St George. If in fact a property owner in Rockland does not reside here they shouldn't be on a committee deciding what those of us that live here have to put up with. If this is true shame on the mayor and this person as well.

Posted by: Doug Curtis Jr. | Nov 30, 2018 13:20

I am sure this is a good way forward. It might be nice to have one man on the committee

Posted by: Ian Emmott | Nov 30, 2018 12:53

Sorry I see this as a way for Hotels and such to improve their bottom line from a more convenient way for folks to experienc Maine and elsewhere (str’s). About community? Excuse me while chuckle at those why bought the joke.

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Nov 30, 2018 09:44

YEAH!  A community working together for the better good of the city.   The tax payers are involved in decisions.  What a step forward.


Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Nov 30, 2018 06:04

Good move!  Looking forward to positive results.

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