This Week: Short Term Rentals and School Budget Presentation

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Watertown City Hall

Tuesday night, the City Council will consider the proposed rules for short term rentals, aka Airbnb or VRBO, in Watertown. On Monday, the School Committee will hear the Superintendent’s budget presentation for the 2024-25 school year.

The City Council will hold a public hearing and vote on a zoning amendment about short term rentals (i.e. Airbnb and VRBO) in Watertown on Tuesday. In March the Planning Board supported the proposal which allows short term rentals with some restrictions, including that the homes or rooms in homes must be the owner’s primary residence, they can only be rented up to three months a year, and they will not be allowed in adjacent units in a multi-family home, such as half of a two family or an accessory (mother-in-law) unit. (Read more details here). The meeting on April 9, begins at 7 p.m. and will take place in City Hall and there will also be remote participation. See the agenda here.

On Monday night, Superintendent Dede Galdston will present the Fiscal Year 2025 school budget. The School Committee will hold a public hearing on April 8 at 7 p.m. at Cunniff School. There will also be remote participation. See the whole agenda here.

2 thoughts on “This Week: Short Term Rentals and School Budget Presentation

  1. This push to approve some kind of provisions for STRs feels rushed and piecemeal. There is no mention of allocating resources to deal with the repercussions of having extra people and their cars in town, for example. We see that some residents who have an STR in their neighborhood have already had to deal with loud late-night parties, constricted parking, trash all over the street, and the City has been unable or unwilling to address any of this. Legally allowing STRs in Watertown will turn many housing units into businesses, depriving us of already-scarce affordable housing. This effects the peace and quiet for current residents, home-owners and renters alike, and will lock out others from being able to live here. If we’re going to do this, we need to do it properly, with eyes wide open. Among the things we need to see to clearly is that STRs are highly unlikely to increase foot-traffic in Watertown businesses, that it is very difficult for anyone to make money off of STRs other than the multi-billion dollar corporations that run them, that we already have congestion issues, and that we are a residential City, a place where people choose to put down some roots and get on with their lives, not a tourist-destination. I’m all for Watertown adjusting to the times, but let’s please, please, please not rush things. For now, the City Council should vote NO. We need more protections for the people who actually live here, and those who would like to live here, not the people who just want to shave $20 off their 3-night stay in the Greater Boston area.


    RE: Agenda Item 9. Public Hearings
    A. Public Hearing and Vote on a Zoning Code Amendment Regarding Short Term Rentals


    When Short Term Rentals were first discussed; in my position as a representative of the local electorate, I voiced many concerns against the legalization. I ask the City Council to think seriously, before exposing Watertown’s residents to adverse ramifications. Vote “NO” to Short Term Rentals in residential zoning districts.

    Many cities and towns, nationwide, have been subjected to the many pitfalls associated with Short Term Rentals in residential zoning districts. Please, do not allow your votes to create “serious problems”.

    Learn from areas such as: Nantucket and Lynnfield, MA; Houston, TX; New York City, NY; and San Francisco, CA, to name a few.

    “Quasi Hotel”, commercial uses, in residential neighborhoods, may infringe on the community as follows:

    – Curtailed access to the City’s limited rental housing stock
    – Limited off-street and on-street parking spaces to accommodate multiple guests
    – Constant turnover of unknown guests in the neighborhoods
    – Excessive, unregulated noise
    – Accumulation of trash from coming/going guests
    – Fire hazards
    – Lack of property maintenance
    – Required monitoring for proliferation of illegal listings

    Please do not pit neighbor against neighbor, as the City’s enforcers of quality-of-life. Preserve neighborhood cohesiveness by voting “NO”, against Short Term Rentals in Watertown’s residential zoning districts. Thank you.



    Angeline Maria B. Kounelis
    Retired District A, East End, City Councilor

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