Town proposes regulations of short-term rentals

Town proposes regulations of short-term rentals
Photo by Karsten Winegeart / Unsplash

The Town of Putnam Valley took a big step forward last week in its efforts to regulate short-term rentals most commonly associated with Airbnb and VRBO homes.

At its June meeting, the town board published a detailed proposal that would require homeowners wishing to rent out their homes for less than 30 days to obtain a special use permit from the town's Planning Board, as well as a short-term rental (STR) permit from the town's Building Department. The public is encouraged to weigh in on the proposal at a hearing on July 19th at 6pm at Town Hall. The public hearing period will probably remain open after that to allow for more discussion.

In her introductory remarks, Town Supervisor Jacqueline Annabi stated, "This is happening around us, so we have to regulate this so it’s not getting out of control.” The proposed regulation seeks to balance the desire of homeowners to earn income from their homes while also addressing the quality of life issues raised by the influx of tourists on neighboring properties. "We're putting together a proposal to pass regulations for us to live in harmony, if you will," Supervisor Annabi said at the June board meeting.

For their applications to be approved, homeowners will, among other things, need to meet fire and safety codes, comply with maximum occupancy rules set by the Building Department, and publish 'house rules' that cover issues such as garbage disposal, parking, fire use, and water safety.

To address the noise issues that often form the basis of neighbors' complaints, the proposal states that "unreasonably loud, disturbing and unnecessary noise shall not occur after 8:00 p.m. nor before 7:00 a.m. during weekdays and not between 8:00 p.m. and before 9:00 a.m. on Sundays or any holiday." Noise complaints would be handled by the Putnam County Sheriff's office. Violations of this and other aspects of the regulations could result in an STR permit being revoked.

One potentially controversial feature of the proposal is the authority the town board seeks to set a cap (currently unspecified) on the maximum number of STRs it will allow in the town, along with the right to adjust that cap at any time. The resolution states that this is necessary in order "to ensure the equitable distribution of STR permits and to protect the public's health, safety and welfare."

The public hearing on July 19th promises to be interesting - come one, come all!

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