Oakmont looks to control vacation rentals in town
Oakmont officials want to adopt some new regulations so borough property owners think twice before turning their homes into hotels.
Council approved advertising a short-term rental ordinance June 17 and could vote on it next month.
According to the proposed ordinance, a property being rented out must be the permanent address of the owner or lessee, and they must occupy the residence for at least six months out of the year.
The property owner may provide short-term rentals up to six times a year and a maximum of 30 days in a year.
The owner also must register the property as a short-term rental with the borough.
Councilwoman Carrie DelRosso said the proposed ordinance is in response to residents’ concerns.
“Right now, there are people using their properties as Airbnbs,” she said. “In the past, we haven’t had any problems. We’ve had people use their properties as short-term rentals, especially during the U.S. Open.
“Now that Airbnbs are becoming more popular, people are coming to Oakmont to stay more frequently. We want to make sure we have a process in place. I think they’re fair (regulations). I think they’re guidelines.”
DelRosso said council received some complaints from residents about absentee owners and uncomfortable situations at those properties.
Kassandra Stotler is one of those concerned residents.
“I really value personal property rights,” she said. “At the same time, things can start to affect a community. There’s a reason I don’t live in Myrtle Beach (S.C.) or Outer Banks (N.C.). Those are resort towns.”
Stotler said there are some homes in Oakmont that are vacant almost year-round except for use as rentals. She said she heard of long parties, midnight arrivals, domestic disputes and other incidents at the rentals.
“I know other people in Oakmont have had much worse experiences,” Stotler said. “When you’re living there, you’re invested in your property and care if someone comes in and wrecks it.”
Stotler said she’s glad council plans to adopt rules regarding rentals, and supports Oakmont families trying to earn extra income.
“We have a safe town and I want to see that preserved,” Stotler said.
Attempts to reach property owners who have their homes listed as rentals were not successful.
The proposed ordinance is expected to be available for review at the borough office by the end of this week.
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .