STOCKTON SPRINGS — Around 15 people came out Sept. 16 for a special Select Board meeting, the third community discussion of short-term rentals. The emphasis, as had been announced previously, was on possible to solutions to problems including noise, trespassing and litter caused by short-term rental guests.

Proposals were offered by short-term rental owners and by residents who have had problems with certain STRs, but there was little common ground. Rental owners felt the problems could be worked out through the adoption of a common set of requirements for guests and open dialog with neighbors. They said now was not the time to enact an ordinance governing STRs, because legislation on the issue was still pending in Augusta.

STR critics — this term is used as shorthand for those who have complained about STRs and who want the town to regulate them, not to imply that anyone in this group opposes STRs across the board — were adamant that the Select Board should act without waiting for the Legislature. More than one of them implored the board to “do something” to control what, to them, has become an extremely frustrating situation.

Several people on both sides of the issue spoke, but two emerged as representatives of their respective positions. Jessika Brooks Brewer, owner of French’s Point, a wedding venue with several lodging buildings, was the first to speak. She said she and fellow STR owner Paul Barclay had started a closed Facebook group for STR owners in town — Short Term Rentals of Stockton Springs, Maine — where owners can share ideas about guest policies, make referrals and so on. She said she and other owners were developing a “good neighbor policy” they hope all STR owners in town will adopt in order to reduce friction with their neighbors.

Brewer said the ideas in the policy were similar to those in a guest policy template from Lodgify, a vacation rental management application and website, that she had shared with the Town Office, which was part of the material passed out to those attending the meeting.

She went into some detail about her guest policies, which she said had been developed through talking with her neighbors about how she could increase their comfort with her business. Brewer asks guests to observe quiet hours starting at 10 p.m., with no outdoor gatherings and no outdoor house lights after that time. She withholds a part of the damage deposit for infractions of any of her guest policies.

She also has a local property manager, and recommended that STR owners have a local contact who can respond immediately to any problems.

“My lease agreement is lengthy and it is intentionally somewhat of a deterrent” to people who want to be rowdy, she said. Brewer added that when her family bought their property 20 years ago, they had to work hard to gain their neighbors’ trust. She said she was grateful her neighbors let her know about problems with her guests so she could fix them, “because we’re neighbors.”

Select Board member Darren Shute asked what incentive other STR owners would have to implement policies and practices similar to Brewer’s. She replied, “It takes a willingness to continue to communicate.”

She said she thinks it is premature for Stockton Springs to pass an ordinance with legislation pertaining to STRs still before the Legislature. Earlier this year, three bills were under consideration. Two have since died in the House. The one bill remaining, H.P. 968, requires municipalities to allow one accessory dwelling unit to be included within or located on the same lot as a single-family dwelling unit, and says towns may not bar owners from using one of the units as an STR.

Brewer also suggested forming a group of STR owners and neighbors to continue working on this issue.

She was followed at the microphone by two STR critics, one of whom was John Vallely, who had submitted to the Town Office his ideas regarding a potential STR ordinance, which were also included in the materials handed out to those present. He was emphatic that a “good neighbor policy” simply was not enough, that the town must have an ordinance in order to end the problems with STR guests.

To say it is up to the neighbors to help STR owners fix the problems while the town does nothing does not make sense, he said, adding that he would require STR owners to be present on the property they are renting while there are guests. He would grandfather current owners of STRs who do not live on their rental premises, as long as their permanent home is in town, and they are at home while guests are present at their STR.

He would also allow no more than two adults per STR, with an unlimited number of children, to encourage families and exclude groups of young single adults. Another of Vallely’s suggestions was to license STRs and make licenses non-transferrable upon sale of the property.

“This needs to get regulated. You can’t rely on the foxes to guard the hen house!” he said.

Brewer rose to speak several more times, repeatedly asking those critical of STRs to sit down and talk with STR owners about how to resolve the problems. Vallely also spoke several times, stressing that it was not neighbors’ responsibility to help fix problems caused by STR guests, and that merely having to report a problem was already an imposition on his and other residents’ quiet enjoyment of their property. He also noted that different areas of town had different characters and should have different rules.

Steve Benjamin, another STR critic, suggested that new STR owners should be required to notify their neighbors of their intentions and go before the Planning Board to present their plans. He complained that the owners of an STR on his road had not told their neighbors they were planning to rent out the house they bought and he and others had been taken by surprise. He went on to add that if the town is not going to draft an ordinance now, it should pass a moratorium on new STRs until either the state takes action or the Select Board is ready to act. “Please, let’s not do nothing,” he concluded.

Before the meeting wrapped up after 90 minutes, the Select Board members each spoke briefly. Board member Betsy Bradley thanked everyone for their participation and noted that the town must be prepared to enforce any ordinance it passes. She proposed that the board discuss the issue further at its regular meeting Oct. 7 at 8 a.m.

Darren Shute said he thought some STR owners needed to change what they were doing, and that they need an incentive to follow the example of owners like Brewer, adding that residents are entitled to feel safe and comfortable in their homes. He also said he would prefer to have the problems resolved without regulation by the town.

Board member Marsha Shute said she would like to see a registry for STR owners and also that the board should continue to discuss the matter.

Bradley closed the meeting, saying she empathized with people on both sides. “I promise you I’ll work the best I can to make sure you all continue to be heard.