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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Short-term rental, long-term implementation

By Jack Chavez, Staff Writer

Talk is circulating in Berlin that the short-term rental ordinance could be delayed until 2023.

The town set the impldmentation date for July 1 after the town council narrowly passed the ordinance, which allows short-term rentals in residential units in all residential districts (R-1-4) and where they are allowed on the second floor in the business district (B1-3), in March.

According to Mayor Zack Tyndall, the issue appears to be one of timing.

“(To my understanding) the issue is the number of bookings that were in place before the ordinance went into effect and passed by council,” Tyndall said. “What’s been expressed to me is that rather than forcing everyone to (process) cancellations for this upcoming season and people being upset with the Town of Berlin, we should push it out to January.”

The primary voice promoting a pushback is Berlin Planning Director Dave Engelhart.

At the last town council meeting on May 23, he brought up delaying the ordinance, saying rental operators had voiced concerns about reservations that predate the ordinance. The delay would allow the town more time to prepare for the changes as well as familiarize itself with the new procedures and inspections the ordinance will bring.

If Engelhart gets his way, the ordinance’s new implementation date would likely be Jan. 1, 2023.

Tyndall said that, while the ordinance is still slated for July 1, it will likely be discussed at the next town council meeting on June 27. He added that the town “will be prepared” for a July 1 implementation regardless.

“I think that whatever we can do to make Berlin look and feel the best for those who live here and those who want to visit (should be done),” Tyndall said. “And I can see (Engelhart’s) side that it does leave a bad taste in your mouth if you have to cancel those bookings.”

Engelhart could not be reached for comment.

This story appears in the print version of the Bayside Gazette on June 9, 2022.