During the past week, Putnam Valley's town board held two more public hearings on its proposed regulation of short-term rentals, most commonly associated with Airbnb.
Although few residents spoke at those sessions and most seemed to accept that regulation was inevitable, a few new issues did emerge. Board members now seem interested in providing greater protection to homeowners who live on lots that are very close together, which they defined as an acre or less. They are considering requiring some form of screening, such as shrubs or fences, to delineate one lot from another, making it harder for visitors to accidentally veer onto a neighbor's lawn. They also said they would consider offering a waiver option, for neighbors willing to dispense with that protection.
Supervisor Jacqueline Annabi also addressed the question of fees and fines, emphasizing that the board wants to keep the application fees relatively modest, to encourage homeowners to comply, while imposing "hefty" fines on those who violate the rules, once passed.
She also confirmed that it is the town's intention to impose a 2% tax on visitors who are renting, and that it will be the responsibility of the host to pass along those revenues to the town. While some platforms, such as Airbnb, provide that service, others do not. Before such a tax can be imposed, the town will need to hold a new set of public hearings.