Beyond the rejection of the short-term rental bylaws and the approval of $3.8 million in spending to expand and renovate the Nobadeer Farm Road playing fields, there were numerous other warrant articles debated and voted upon during Tuesday's Special Town Meeting.
Here's a rundown:
Article 3: This proposal, which was not called for debate, will allow the town to adopt a so-called "community impact fee on professionally managed short-term rentals" that is allowed under state law. The 3 percent fee, paid by short-term rental operators, is in addition to the state's rooms occupancy tax on short-term rentals already in existence. A "professionally-managed unit" is defined as one of two or more short-term rental units that are located in the same city or town, operated by the same person and are not located within a dwelling that includes the operator's primary residence. The fee does not apply to owner-occupied units. Voters approved this article according to the Finance Committee's positive motion without any debate.
Article 4: A proposal to establish a special purpose stabiliziation fund for affordable housing, and to dedicate all of the town's short-term rental community impact fees to that fund, was defeated. The article was called by Meri Lepore, who questioned whether the town had already allocated enough funding to affordable housing projects in recent years. The article, which had received a positive recommendation from the Finance Committee, required a two-thirds majority vote for passage. The final vote was: Yes- 354, No - 254, and so the two-thirds majority vote threshold was not reached. The revenue from the community impact fees will now go to the town's general fund rather than this proposed stabilization fund.
Article 7: this real estate acquisition proposal was for the town to acquire easements on Lovers Lane, Lovers Lane, Okorwaw Avenue, Monohansett Road, Airport Road, Skyline Drive, Webster Road, Evergreen Way, Rugged Road, and Davkim Lane related to the Surfside Area Transportation Enhancements Project. The article was called by Tobias Glidden, who sought to strike Rugged Road from the article, urging voters to "keep Rugged Road rugged." Town officials, including Libby Gibson and Nat Lowell, urged voters to reject the amendment, which they ultimately did by a vote of 77-414. The main motion was then approved 423-74.
Article 9: This general fund transfer proposal sought a slight change to the stated purpose for $1 million in spending that was already appropriated by Town Meeting in 2022 for “a pilot program to help ease housing expenses for Town employees." The new purpose for the funding will be for “acquiring town employee housing including all costs incidental thereto" after the article was approved 651- 178.
Article 18: A citizen petition to expand town sewer services to Codfish Park in 'Sconset was not called for debate, so the negative motion by the Finance Committee to reject the bylaw amendment was adopted.
Article 19: This bylaw amendment to add two properties on Sankaty Road to the Siasconset Sewer District (62 and 64 Sankaty Road) was rejected on a vote of 147 to 284.
Article 20: This bylaw amendment to add a handful of properties on Burnt Swamp Lane to the town sewer district. The article had been proposed by the late Carl Borchert, who passed away last month. It was approved by voters Tuesday on a vote of 310 - 99.
All other articles were voted according to their Finance Committee motions.