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Mayor Williams weighs in on Berlin leash laws and Airbnbs

By Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(Jan. 31, 2019) Berlin Mayor Gee Williams on Monday had a few more things to say about a pair of resident complaints made at the Jan. 14 Town Council meeting.

Pam Hay, earlier this month, spoke about town leash laws and potential Airbnb operations in the town.

On Monday, Williams said town officials “take these suggestions very seriously” and urged residents in both instances, “if you see something, say something.”

Williams said any rental operation in the town must have a rental license. He added, “We really have no way of finding out … unless somebody calls either Town Hall or the police department.”

“I don’t think any of us want government employees, even the friendly folks from the town level, coming into your homes and checking to see if you’ve got anybody staying over,” Williams said. “That’s just not the way it works.”

He added, “We want to do the right thing. We may, as we get experience and we see other communities that have a much more impact from Airbnbs, we’ll find out how they’re tweaking their ordinances and regulations, and we’ll certainly look into that. But it doesn’t matter what we have on the books if we don’t have citizens telling us where the problems are.”

Berlin leash laws, he said, have “been on the books since 1980.” According to Williams, walking a dog without a leash violates town code and could lead to fines.

He said incidents involving unleashed dogs seem to happen in sprees.

“There are periods where we have no problems at all and then … you’ll have a period of two or three months when there’s two or three instances,” Williams said. “We have the ability to enforce those things, but I can’t see where we’ll ever have enough law enforcement officers that we can have people literally patrolling the dogs.

“We can’t be the citizen and the town public servants at the same time – we can’t be both,” Williams continued. “If either one of those things is bothering you … you need to call somebody.

“If you’re seeing something, call the town and we can respond as immediately as possible,” he added.