couple from West Newbury seek shelter license again | Local News


WEST NEWBURY – Two Norino Drive residents who were denied a shelter permit last summer are giving it another try.

Colin and Reinhild Hodgson of 15 Norino Drive have again applied for the right to use part of their 10,000 square foot home as a bed and breakfast, the couple’s lawyer Lisa Mead told Selectmen last week.

After a lengthy discussion with Mead, the Hodgsons and some of the roughly 30 residents present at the meeting, the selectmen postponed a decision until 7 p.m. today.

Council wanted clarification on the definition of a bed and breakfast and to hear from the board of health about the regulations governing the use of the kitchen in this type of rental situation. Selectman Glenn Kemper also insisted that applicants provide signed statements confirming that they would provide on-site parking and breakfast to their short-term tenants.

In August, the board of directors voted 2-1 to reject a similar request, with President David Archibald voting in opposition. The ruling cited incompatibility of proposed business activity in a residential area, concerns for public health and safety, and the likelihood of future non-compliance by the Hodgsons as grounds for rejecting the application.

Legally, selection men cannot consider the effect a shelter will have on a neighborhood when deciding whether or not to issue a license, Mead said.

When Kemper announced on January 29 that he wanted all of the information from the first request to be recorded, Mead objected, saying the process would have to start over.

After the selectmen rejected their request last summer, the Hodgsons complained that they had been unfairly targeted by disgruntled neighbors and unfairly penalized by selectmen who they said had dropped the ball in terms of establishing a business. ‘a licensing process as required by state law.

The couple’s house, a six-acre two-family residence, is in a Zoned Residential B area. The rental unit is 7,500 square feet with five bedrooms, four complete and a powder room, in which they would offer rentals at short term of up to four bedrooms with no more than eight people at a time.

The owners would occupy a second, smaller unit. The property’s septic plan allows for up to six bedrooms with a maximum of 12 people.

In a letter to selectmen, Mead said that “when the board of directors considers the applicant to be of good character, the applicant’s past experience in operating a safe house has been without issue. and that the facilities are adequate for the proposed use, a license must be issued. . “

Her clients are beloved, honest citizens with no criminal history. During their 20 years in town “until the council enacted the shelter rules”, they had an “impeccable record” in the management of their property, including short rentals. term. They agree to keep a guest register and provide 15 on-site parking spaces.

“They won’t have to use the public road,” Mead said. The building, police, fire and health departments and the treasurer approved the proposal.

“We believe the applicants meet all the requirements,” Mead said, noting that city regulations allow the proposed land use.

Since 2016, the question of whether Colin Hodgson has the right to operate his home business has come up several times before the men of the selection. In fact, it was complaints about major parties, increased traffic, and other disruptions related to the shelter that first alerted city officials that there was no had no formal process in place for residents to apply for a shelter license.

Under state law, properties used as a short-term rental for four or more people must obtain a selectmen’s license.

In 2016, Town Meeting voters amended West Newbury’s statutes to highlight this law and also passed more restrictive regulations also requiring a license for rentals to three or fewer people, which is not part of the law of State.

But when Selectman Joe Anderson asked the couple if they had rented their home to tenants “at some point in 2017,” Reinhild Hodgson replied “up to three, yes,” and seemed surprised to learn that it was a violation.

The fine for breaking the rules of the shelter is $ 300 per day.

Selectmen also mentioned a college graduation party in May which police investigated after a noise complaint. The officer learned that the people who organized the party were tenants; the Hodgsons were not present.

Abutters is concerned about increased traffic on a neighborhood road and is concerned about how cars parked along the street could affect access for public safety vehicles. One man compared the proposal to setting up a hotel at the end of the deadlock.

Dennis Unger of Maple Street backed the Hodgsons’ candidacy, noting in a letter to selectmen that this type of home-based business was exactly the kind of “fair, predictable and profitable” smart growth the community needed.

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