Short-term rental on Institute Street approved

Published 3:37 pm Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Smithfield’s Town Council voted 6-1 on Sept. 5 to allow a house on Institute Street to be used exclusively for short-term rentals.

Councilman Jeff Brooks cast the dissenting vote.

Smithfield changed its ordinances in 2020 to allow homeowners the option of leasing their residences as short-term rentals through services like Airbnb, provided the homeowner obtains a town business license and signs a short-term rental affidavit.

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Properties leased no more than 104 nights per calendar year and to no more than two guests per bedroom are allowed “by right,” meaning no Planning Commission or Town Council approval is needed. In this case, however, the owner plans to make short-term rentals the property’s “principal use,” which required a special use permit from the council.

According to Tammie Clary, Smithfield’s director of community development and planning, this is the third time a homeowner has gone through the process outlined in the 2020 ordinance to convert a house to a full-time short-term rental business. A fourth, operating on Mason Street, was already operating and grandfathered as of the 2020 change. All four, including the Institute Street house, are located in the town’s historic district.