Gardiner extends moratorium on tourism-related projects, considers short-term rental regulations


At its June 11 meeting, the Gardiner Town Board voted unanimously to extend for another six months the moratorium on “the processing and approval of new applications for certain tourism-related accommodation land uses” that it had passed in December 2018. While the board has made considerable progress toward its goal of updating the language of the town’s 2008 Zoning Code to provide better guidance on decisions regarding contemporary tourist accommodations such as AirBnBs, its members concurred that more time was needed to complete the tasks they had taken on. “Our hope is that we do not have to go the whole six-month extension,” said town supervisor Marybeth Majestic.

The moratorium as adopted specifically applies to “the processing and approval of new applications for building permits, special use permits, special permits, variances, site plan approval, lot line revision, subdivision approval or other approvals or permission related to the undertaking, establishment, placement, development, excavation, enlargement, construction or erection of the following in the Town: 1) Camps; 2) Low-Impact Recreation; 3) Recreational Camps and Facilities; 4) Lodging Facilities; 5) Resorts; 6) Tourist Camps; 7) Travel Trailer Parks; and 8) Glamping Facilities.”

A public hearing on the extension was opened and closed at the meeting without any public comment. However, considerable spirited input was offered from residents who rent out all or parts of their homes on a seasonal basis when the board turned its discussion to the topic of a proposed Short-Term Rental Law that is one component of the ongoing update of municipal policies regarding tourism-related accommodations. Supervisor Majestic noted that she had already received “numerous e-mails” in which “the main point of contention was requiring owner-occupancy” while the dwelling was being rented. Several audience members protested that they needed the option of renting out their homes while they were out of town in order to help pay their property taxes. One resident argued that the “owner-occupied rule” would be “pushing business to the big resorts that we’re trying to get rid of.”


In an effort to determine how many properties in Gardiner would be impacted by such a law, Majestic said that she was awaiting data from the Ulster County Planning Department, while councilman David Dukler reported that research he had done via the AirBnB website indicated 43 whole-house rentals currently being advertised in or near the Town of Gardiner. “I also looked at how many people they can accommodate,” Dukler said, noting that of the 43, only six were potential “party houses” with room for 12 or more renters at one time. “The thing that brought this to everybody’s attention is the party house issue,” mainly involving noise complaints, he noted. “We need to stay focused on that immediate, egregious issue.”

An audience member who identified himself as Ray Vargas said that he worked for a company that manages more than 30 short-term rental properties in Ulster County and has developed a list of “best practices” to which clients are expected to adhere, including having short-term rental insurance, security cameras and noise detectors. Citing the popularity of larger homes for family reunions, Vargas said, “Don’t just assume because a house sleeps ten people means it’s a party house.” A permitting process utilizing registered property managers was suggested by several as an alternative to an outright ban on absentee owners.

“There are many paths to success, many ways we can be accommodating to homeowners and renters and people who come to stay here,” said councilwoman Laura Walls. She cautioned that the town needs to consider the financial impact of short-term rentals on the local housing market in addition to its benefits to existing homeowners, in order to discourage speculative investment in local real estate that would drive up prices. Councilman Franco Carucci added that impacts on local emergency services must also be managed, citing past instances when police and fire departments were called upon to turn off alarms triggered in the middle of the night with no apparent way of contacting the absent owner.

“We’ll continue working on the law, and make no decisions until we get input from the county on the inventory,” Majestic concluded.

There are 6 comments

  1. Internal Revenue Service, LLC

    If Mr. DeNiro is paying taxes on an $8 million parcel, how could the rest of the municipality come pleading poverty?

  2. Kingston Guy

    Well that’s fine with us in Kingston. Come for the weekend, you may never want to leave. The Hotel Kinsley
    is now open on Wall Street in Uptown, as is its beautiful bar and restaurant. And the same developer is in the process of restoring three additional historic buildings Uptown which will house 40+ additional hotel rooms for guests. American Standard Breweing is open. Lis Bar. Wilde Beest is open. The Stockade Bar is open. Boitsons is open. Kovo Greek is open. As are many of our old standards. New retail. Exit 19, Blue Cashew, Hamilton & Adams, Oak, Rough Draft, Kingston Wine Co, Brunette Wine Bar, Clove and Creek…too many to list here. There’s new performance space. New housing all coming online Uptown, in Midtown, and on The Roundout. Kingston is in the full swing of a renaissance, its population is growing and we are quickly catching Hudson as the new go-to destination in the Mid Hudson Valley. If Gardiner chooses to fumble its way through this process, we are open for business and invite anyone looking for a weekend stay, or longer, and new business to come and join us here.

    1. Babbitt

      It’s a house of cards based on grants, incomprehensible and inequitable real property tax records, and boosterism by the embedded plutocracy. Need a forensic analysis?

  3. lynda martinez

    This moratorium seems to be unjust to all the named entities. Gardiner powers seem to want the tourist trade and revenue that it generates but only on their own terms. Over regulating camping , clamping, AirBnbs, room or house rentals for a short term seem to be prohibitive and unfair to residents trying to accommodate visitors, campers,and others mentioned, so that they can take advantage of the generated income to help pay absurdly high taxes. Nobody always gets what they want, I don’t see or hear of a sufficient amount of compromise on these proposed regulations. It tends to be Gardiners inner circle, with the same voices that seem to be making the decisions for everyone, Business as usual!!!!!!

    1. Appraise This

      No, it’s unfair to the single family owner occupied owner who has to subsidize commercial lodging services who are taxed at the same rate as he. The supervisor of Gardner has to subsidize these commercial lodging services, unlike the Mayor of New Paltz, who rents out an apartment in his house, so say the tax rolls and pays no commercial lodging tax and gets a STAR exemption for his entire structure instead of a part of it.

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