CHESAPEAKE BEACH, Md. – The Chesapeake Beach Planning & Zoning Commission received public comment, related to the Town’s Zoning Ordinance and the long-established restriction on short term rentals, during the January 27, 2021 Planning & Zoning Commission meeting. Short-term rentals refer to a private home or condominium not occupied by an owner or manager; that is rented or leased to transient guests on a daily or weekly basis of less than (30) thirty days. The leasing of a residential unit, as a short-term rental, typically takes place through online brokerage services like Airbnb and VRBO. The owners of houses who opt to rent them out on these platforms, in residentially zoned districts, are not operating in a manner that complies with the definition, or conditions, set forth in the Town’s Zoning Ordinance. 

“This is not solely a matter of short-term rentals; this is a crucial point for the Town citizens to decide if they prefer to remain a primarily owner-occupied residential Town or if they prefer to live in a transient tourist Town. While Chesapeake Beach has been known as a destination for many years, residents are able to enjoy the protection that the Town’s zoning ordinance provides, maintaining the character and quality of life in residentially zoned portions of Town. ” stated Patrick J. “Irish” Mahoney, Mayor of the Town of Chesapeake Beach

The Town has been consistent in its findings that short-term rentals are not permitted in residential zoning districts. Short term rentals are permitted; however, in maritime and commercially zoned districts with an approved zoning permit. In 2014, the Planning Commission reviewed the idea of expressly allowing short term rentals in a public forum and decided that the Zoning Ordinance did not permit short term rentals, in residentially zoned districts, and that no changes to the Zoning Ordinance were warranted.

In accordance with the Town’s Zoning code Article III Section 290- 9, 10, 11, short term rental properties are incompatible with and/or might adversely impact single-family residential neighbors.  By contrast, traditional Bed and Breakfast establishments, which operate with onsite owner management, adequate parking, the formal creation and operation of guest rooms, life safety and health inspections that can come about through www.chesapeakebeachmd.gov  participation on a formal state registry are permitted by the Town’s Zoning Ordinance Article III Section 290-11.

The Town adopted a Housing Code in May 2019, Ordinance O-19-11, with the purpose of protecting public health, safety, and welfare by establishing minimum property maintenance standards and minimum requirements for the exterior and interior of rental units. At the time the Housing Code was adopted, it was clear to the Planning Commission and Town Council, that this new law would not change the prohibition on short-term rentals. The Housing Code created a Town rental license and inspection program to ensure safe and sanitary rental housing units. By definition, the Code allows the rental of legally established housing units for periods of (30) thirty days or more. It requires that such units be inspected and operated at certain standards of livability. 

The Planning & Zoning Commission plans to review the Town’s Zoning Ordinance, and how it applies to short term rentals, further at a future public meeting, to be announced on the Town’s website under “Meetings and Town Notices”. Public comment is encouraged during public meetings and via email to the Town Clerk at shumm@chesapeakebeachmd.gov

A Town zoning map is located here: https://ecode360.com/attachment/CH3001/CH3001290c%20App%20B%20Maps.pdf.


A Land Use Classification Table is located here: https://ecode360.com/attachment/CH3001/CH3001290a%20Table%201%20Land%20Use%20Class.pdf

Related Article: Town Clarifies the Difference between a Bed and Breakfast and a short-term rental