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Greenport short-term rental law goes back to the drawing board

The Village Board has decided it needs more time to find a way to regulate short-term rentals.

During Thursday’s work session, village trustees agreed to continue researching and discussing the issue instead of holding a public hearing on the draft law at the Nov. 30 regular meeting.

The decision comes about a month after the village code committee’s draft of a proposed short-term rental law was made public. That copy defines a short-term rental as “less than 30 days” and requires anyone seeking a permit to undergo an inspection.

The village’s current code excludes rentals less than 30 days from its registration and permitting requirements. Summer homes rented for less than four months are also excluded from the current rental code.

The Village Board is looking into possible solutions to address short-term rentals, including expanding Greenport’s current law in order to require all rental property owners to register with the village.

Quality of life complaints stemming from short-term rentals have been a concern both locally and nationally. Southold Town recently approved its own law regulating short-term rentals to a 14-night minimum stay.

Mayor George Hubbard said he believes village inspectors should inspect properties advertised on short-term rental websites, such as AirBnb, to make sure the dwellings are safe.

“We need a reason to be invited in,” he said. “If they don’t register with us and they’re advertising on AirBnB, then our code enforcement can go in.”

That’s one approach the village could take if a short-term rental code isn’t adopted by the summer season, Mr. Hubbard said after the meeting.

Trustee Doug Roberts said he’s concerned about how the village’s affordable housing opportunities are being taken off the market and purchased as short-term rental property investments. He also requested a financial analysis from the building department to show the costs associated with enforcing the current rental law.

The intent of the latest proposal is to “preserve the availability of residential housing units in the Village of Greenport and to maintain the essentially residential character of the Village of Greenport while at the same time addressing the demand for short-term housing and allowing the homeowners of the Village of Greenport to benefit economically from the seasonal need for periods of short-term transient lodging.”

The mayor confirmed after Thursday’s work session that the draft law will remain with the Village Board for further review as opposed going back to the village code committee.

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