Don’t give up your quality of life in the name of STRs
Mr. Rodrigues’ guest column re: short-term rentals is replete with nonsense. First of all, the short-term rental trade is simply that, a business and a way to make money at the expense of community. Community means neighbors. STR owners will say anything to make you believe they are doing this to build tourism for the greater good of Groton. Where money is involved only the most naïve will believe such fiction. Who would prefer to have transients living next to them to actual permanent neighbors? When you buy a house in Groton now and particularly Mystic for your residence, you must be mindful of the possibility someone can purchase a house next door and turn it into an STR. Not a pleasant prospect for community, peace and quiet, or your real estate value.
Neither are STR guests a net benefit economically to the greater merchant community. The STR owners benefit of course, as do restaurants, but a family living in a home permanently year-round spends their money at all the many local places that someone staying a few days will not. A simple back of the envelope comparison, built on median income numbers and length of STR stays, will show that the supposed STR economic benefit is a wash. Those numbers have been provided to various officials, but apparently have not seen the light of day.
Most of the provisions put forth by the Groton Planning & Zoning Commission are reasonable, such as an owner-occupied residence, where you keep your neighbor while allowing use of the property for some income. There is no comeback for STR advocates when it comes to neighbors. Keeping them is the only way you can keep your community intact. STRs destroy community. After all, why even have residential zoning if you allow commercial entities to encroach, and make no mistake, non-owner, or full time STR owners do not care about community. We have seen what STR proliferation has done to a once peaceful and lovely Mystic. Do we want more of it? Many other communities are taking action to reign them in. Our own Noank has done it to great advantage. Do not let a very small number of special interests profiting from STRs persuade you to give up your quality of life for their remuneration.
Bruce McDermott is a longtime resident of Mystic.
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