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Village sets hearing date for revised short-term rental law

The specifics of Greenport Village’s proposed law to limit short-term rentals in the village are now public.

Greenport has a law on its books requiring all residential rentals to be inspected by the village and to obtain a permit from the village. But — although it’s had numerous discussions and hearings on the subject over the past few years — Greenport is only of the municipalities on the East End that doesn’t specifically regulate short-term rental.

The short-term rental trend, which is nationwide, has some officials worried that it will use up the available stock of housing for locals.

“We’re trying to put together a law that’s going to be short and simple, and try to address the need,” Mayor George Hubbard Jr. said at last Thursday’s Village Board meeting. He said the village “would be talking about this for another year or two” if it tried to adopt a complicated law.

The proposal up for public hearing defines short-term rental as being less than 14 days, and long-term rental being at least one year. The short-term rental of a residential property will be considered a conditional use, which requires approval by the Village Planning Board, as well as a public notice and public hearing, according to the proposal.

The exception, which would not be a conditional use, would be a two-family house in which one of the dwelling units is renting rented by either the owner of the home, or is occupied by a long-term occupancy.

“We’re trying to get something on the books to level the playing field,” Mr. Hubbard said. “The hearing is next week and we’ll hear what both sides have to say.”

Resident Chatty Allen said she’s happy with the wording in the proposal.

“This will bring housing stock back the village,” she said.

Several owners of bed and breakfasts in the village urged the board recently to take action to regulate short-term rentals, which they said were not being required to pay a county hospitality tax and and weren’t being made to comply with building regulations, like hotels and bed and breakfasts do.

“It’s definitely affected my business,” said Stirling House B&B owner Clayton Sauer of the short-term rentals at a March village meeting. “I’m down 18 percent over the past two years.”

A public hearing has been scheduled for Thursday, July 26, at 7 p.m.

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