Officials in Framingham are putting together a special task force aimed at developing regulations for short-term rentals through services like Airbnb after a raucous party, attended by hundreds, this month led to a heavy police response from multiple agencies and an officer being seriously injured heading to the scene.
Framingham City Councilor Pam Richardson officially proposed the formation of the task force during a City Council meeting Tuesday night, just weeks after the “out-of-control” party, attended by Framingham State students, ended with a head-on crash between a Framingham police officer and partygoers fleeing the area.
The Brook Street party was so large, Framingham police said, that officers requested the assistance of state troopers and police from Sudbury, Natick, Ashland, Sherborn, and other nearby departments.
“It took 45 minutes to get the party under control,” Richardson said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “It was clearly the type of incident that we never want to see again.”
According to the MetroWest Daily News, the home was allegedly rented out to a former Framingham State student through Airbnb.
Keith Worthy Jr., 21, of Springfield was charged with keeping a noisy and disorderly house, assault and battery on a police officer, and resisting arrest, according to police.
Airbnb officials called the incident “unacceptable” and said the company is working with police on their investigation. A spokesman said Airbnb will also reimburse the homeowner for any damage to the property.
Meanwhile, during the City Council meeting Tuesday night, a resident who lives near where the party was held said the neighborhood has been affected by Airbnb rentals over the past few months, parties aside.
“For the past three months, we have had a minimum of three new neighbors — or three guests — a week,” he said. “You don’t know these people, these are not your neighbors. These people are truly strangers. Some of them — I’m sure . . . most of them are nice people — but let’s just play the statistics: Some of them are not going to be nice people.”
Richardson said there are currently no rules in Framingham pertaining to these types of short-term rentals, “and that’s part of the problem.”
“We are very limited in what we can do to manage them and protect the public,” she said. “There were serious injuries related to this incident, and we can’t ignore the safety hazards that are being created by these types of properties.”
The task force will include up to three city councilors, the city’s director of the board of health, the building commissioner, representatives from the police pepartment, and the planning department’s administrator.
The group will look at how houses and apartments are being rented out to guests and for how long. The task force plans to hold public meetings to discuss its findings.
“I just think that it’s a safety issue that we cannot ignore,” Richardson said.
Framingham is not the first community to grapple with the issue. residential properties becoming the scene of rowdy parties.In September, Airbnb permanently banned a user from its platform and launched an investigation after Wellesley residents complained that a neighbor’s home became “a dance club” and left the street in disarray.
Elsewhere, cities and towns have been contemplating or have enacted regulations to prevent similar issues.
In Boston, Mayor Martin J. Walsh wants to keep apartments from being used full time as short-term rentals to boost the city’s housing supply.