Short-term property rentals focus of Penn State Extension land-use webinar

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Short-term property rentals, which have dramatically altered the landscape of guest accommodations and how they affect communities, will be the topic of a web-based seminar offered by Penn State Extension.

Presenting the 75-minute webinar at noon on Sept. 15 will be John Spuhler, with STR Helper & Granicus, and Lisa Sanderson, with Pocono Mountains Association of Realtors.

While the new sharing economy can bring economic benefits, they also can have detrimental effects on community character and housing inventory, noted Spuhler. “The short-term rental market for using rental services such as Airbnb and VRBO has grown significantly in recent years,” he said.

While these services allow property owners to realize the economic benefit of renting all or part of their properties as short-term rentals, Spuhler added, there are corresponding concerns raised by neighboring property owners who feel short-term rentals could result in the loss of sense of community given the transient nature of such use.

Sanderson agreed, noting that the Pocono Mountains Association of Realters short-term rental committee has addressed issues associated with short-term rentals including noise, parking and wastewater over the past few years.

“In addition, we continue ongoing efforts to help municipalities, homeowner associations and the general public to navigate and understand the heightened demand for short-term rentals,” she said. “Our efforts have brought about by the online rental portals such as Airbnb and VRBO.”

This webinar will cover the most recent data and trends for short-term rentals and share strategies to help communities minimize negative impacts and improve compliance via their ordinances. The session also will highlight a local effort to educate local government, short-term renters and short-term rental owners about this issue.

“Short-Term Rental Trends and How to Craft an Ordinance to Handle” is the third webinar in the Penn State Extension Summer/Fall 2021 Land-Use Webinar series that extends into November. The webinar series helps municipal elected and appointed officials, planners, landowners, farmers, and community organizations to be informed about land-use issues and decisions in their communities.

Other topics and dates in the webinar series include:

— July 21: “Intergenerational Community Engagement and Planning — Values and Practices”

— Aug.18: “Making Buffers Work for Your Community, Clients and Residents”

— Oct. 20: “So You Want Agriculture in Your Community — Have You Heard of PA Farm Link?”

— Nov. 17: “Advancing Racial Equity through Land-Use Planning”

All programs will be recorded and available for viewing.

The cost of the webinar series is $50 for all five sessions, or $95 for all five sessions for those who want to receive AICP certification-maintenance credits from the American Planning Association. The cost is also $95 for all five sessions for professional engineers needing PDH credits.

In addition, registered landscape architects can receive continuing education credits for a fee of $65.

For anyone interested in a particular topic(s) from the series, individual session registration is available for a fee of $15 per session.

For more information, contact Peter Wulfhorst at 570-296-3400 or by email at To register for the webinars, visit the website.

Last Updated September 03, 2021