Couple seeks to open Airbnb

Staff Writer
Published: 2/8/2019 11:56:00 PM

COLRAIN – A Conway couple has applied to open an Airbnb in Colrain, and while Airbnbs have been widely criticized for skirting regulations and disrupting neighborhoods, a new state law to regulate and tax such short-term rentals is set to go into effect July 1.

Casey and Erika Goddard, both raised in Franklin County, hope to secure a permit to run an Airbnb at an investment property they own at 254 Main Road. The couple will present plans to the Colrain Planning Board on Thursday.

The Goddard’s property is located in the Colrain village district, so zoning laws require owners to obtain a permit from town to operate as a bed and breakfast, Jonathan Lagreze of the Planning Board said last week. The other two Colrain districts do not require permission from the Planning Board, Lagreze said.

The Goddards purchased the house in Colrain last year with an intention to renovate it and either lease it long-term or sell it.

The idea of an Airbnb emerged more recently, Casey Goddard said Monday.

“It just popped into our heads,” Goddard said.

Airbnb has received criticism for enabling owners to rent out properties without subjection to taxes or regulation. However, Gov. Charlie Baker recently approved a law to regulate short-term rentals. The legislation, which goes into effect July 1, taxes short-term rentals at the same rate as hotels – at 5.7 percent.

Colrain has several properties listed on the Airbnb website. The town also has one bed and breakfast in operation, High Pocket Vacation Rental, located at 38 Adams Place.

Colrain is not a typical destination for tourists, Goddard said. However, the town is a 10-minute drive from Shelburne Falls, a village known to draw many vacationers in the summertime. And there are plenty of other attractions near Colrain, including Berkshire East, outdoor activites like skiing, rafting, hiking and apple picking and more.

The property has five bedrooms. However, unlike some Airbnbs around who host multiple groups at once, the property is only available to one party at time. This is because the Goddards will not live on the premises, he said.

“I think it’d be problematic not living on the property like the traditional bed and breakfast,” Goddard said. “You’d be leaving it up to the guests to interact in the common spaces. You might be inviting trouble, telling somebody you are in this bedroom and you’re in this bedroom.”

The Planning Board hearing will be held Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Highway Department Meeting Room at 9 Jacksonville Road in Colrain.

Reach Grace Bird at: gbird@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 280


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