STOCKTON SPRINGS — Thirty or so people attended the town’s second Community Input Session on short-term rentals at the Town Office Thursday evening, Aug. 19, which was also available via Zoom. Although Town Manager Mac Smith began the meeting by saying the focus for the evening would be on solutions to the perceived problems with short-term renters, most of the 90 minutes was taken up with going over ground that had been covered in the first meeting Aug. 5.

At one point, after several people had complained about misbehaving vacationers and some of the rental owners had said they had no problems at their properties, Sharon Bannon said what the town needs is some leverage with short-term rental owners. She suggested the town require short-term rental owners to have a license for each property. Then, if the town’s short-term rental requirements were violated more than an allowed number of times, the license could be rescinded.

John Vallely responded that he did not think the plan would work. “What’s a strike?” he asked, suggesting that the town might be sued if it rescinded someone’s short-term rental license for what the property owner felt was not just cause.

“Short-term rentals are gonna generate complaints,” he said. “You know they are.” He added that every complaint is a problem that should not have happened in the first place.

Paul Barclay, owner of one of the dozens of rental properties in town, suggested the town establish a short-term rental registry and charge owners a modest annual fee to administer it. Owners could use guests’ security deposits to enforce their house rules, such as quiet hours, restrictions on fireworks and so forth. He added that property owners should get together and develop a short-term rental good neighbor policy that would include expectations of renters at any of their properties.

Barclay said he had been a selectman in another town for several years when the town was going through a difficult period with short-term rentals. He cautioned those present that the issue can pit neighbors against each other if it is not handled well.

Several other speakers said they liked Barclay’s registry and good neighbor policy ideas. A number of those present also said they felt problems could mostly be handled between neighbors by simply talking to each other.

There seemed to be some support for requiring owners to be either on the premises or nearby when their property was rented to short-term guests, but it was hard to gauge how popular the idea was.

Toward the end of the meeting, one or two speakers suggested that people come to the next session with possible solutions. The idea was echoed by Smith.

Jessika Brooks Brewer, who owns French’s Point, offered to help draft a plan for a short-term rental registry and invited other property owners to work with her. She said she would share her house rules for renters that she feels have worked well and would create a Facebook group and share it to the town page.

A third meeting is planned for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16, at the Town Office.