Greenport trying to get a handle on short-term rentals

Greenport vacation homes currently listed on
Greenport vacation homes currently listed on

Although Greenport has long been a hot spot for vacation rentals, the increasing popularity of websites that allow homeowners to lease their properties on a short-term basis has residents and village officials concerned.

On Monday, the Village Board agreed to revisit its zoning code on short-term rentals amid the rising use of websites like Airbnb, which allow homeowners to lease their properties for a little as one night. The conversation was prompted by complaints from residents and village officials alike that the hotel-like operations are disrupting otherwise quiet neighborhoods.

“Friday evening and the house across the street is filling up with guests,” Village Zoning Board of Appeals member David Corwin wrote in a recent email to the Board of Trustees that he later provided a copy of to The Suffolk Times. “It happens every weekend. Different guests every weekend. I wouldn’t know the owner if I saw him.”

Mr. Corwin went on to write that there are currently several dozens of homes for rent in Greenport Village on Airbnb and similar websites. One property near his home rents for roughly $2,000 a weekend, he wrote.

In addition to forcing residents to contend with a revolving door of renters, Mr. Corwin said, there are serious consequences in failing to place regulations on short-term rentals.

“As these new operations spring up all over Greenport, they are starting to have a big impact on the social structure of the village,” Mr. Corwin wrote. “The Airbnbs are in effect residential zoned properties that are being used for commercial purposes but they are being taxed as residences. They will drive the traditional family unit that wants to be part of the community out of the housing market in Greenport.”

Village Mayor David Nyce said he agreed with Mr. Corwin’s concerns and noted that Greenport isn’t the only town suffering from the trend.

“We are having the same issues they are having in New York City and the South Fork,” he said during Monday’s Village Board work session.

The East Hampton Town Board has already changed its code to restrict rentals in residential areas to no less than two weeks at a time and no more than twice in six months. To further regulate rentals, East Hampton has proposed creating a rental registry that would require the owners of rental properties to register with the town’s building department and obtain a rental registration number, according to articles in The East Hampton Press.

Over the summer, an outpouring of complaints from residents prompted Southold Town to also take up the issue. The Town Board is currently reviewing the changes being made by other municipalities but has not yet proposed a law. The village code committee is expected to take up the issue of short-term rentals at an upcoming meeting.

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