Editorial: Making Airbnb work for Worcester

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Worcester has joined a legion of cities trying to come to grips with the realities of the 21st century economy.

At issue is the regulation of Airbnb, an online platform that allows homeowners and renters to supplement their income by renting space on a short-term basis.

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The issue of took center stage in Worcester in June when the City Council heard from residents of Zenith Drive who complain the activity at an Airbnb listing at 65 Zenith Drive is negatively impacting the quality of life in the neighborhood.

Zenith Drive resident Sharyn Eaton told Worcester Magazine, “Whether you call it a bed and breakfast, Airbnb, lodging house, motel, etc., it all boils down to the same thing – the operation of a full-time commercial business in a residential area.”

District 5 Councilor Gary Rosen referred to the house as “the ‘Zenith Motel’ and said if the home is being used as a lodging house, it is being run illegally and without a license,” according to an article from MassLive. “Rosen said he wasn’t against these types of businesses, but they need to operate in the commercial zones.”

Airbnb presents a worthwhile starting point in considering the impact of the new economy on the city of Worcester and surrounding towns.


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