Shandaken looks at new committee to write Short Term Rental law

At the July 8 Shandaken Short-Term Rental (STR) Committee meeting, town supervisor Rob Stanley said the town board will be in charge of putting together a new committee to devise STR regulations, taking into account responses to the recent survey of residents regarding rental of properties through Airbnb, HomeAway, and similar websites. The survey results include 23 pages of comments, expressing widely varying opinions pro and con, and are accessible through a link on the town website homepage, http://www.shandaken.us.

The Shandaken Home-Sharing Association has offered two of its members, Christa Trinler and James Kopp, to join the new committee. Sam Spada of the planning board and Mark Loete of the zoning board said they would like to continue to serve on the committee. Stanley expects to leave the committee and to ask two town board members to join. Town board member Kevin VanBlarcum said he’d be willing to stay on, but he’d be happy to retire and give others a chance if interested. Stanley also wants to invite a hotel owner and a member of the public who is not involved in any kind of rentals. 

At the last meeting, Stanley announced his intention to meet with a representative of Host Compliance to consider whether the town should hire the firm to help craft and enforce STR regulations. The representative canceled or postponed more than one scheduled meeting, and Stanley has not yet conferred with him.

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The town board expects to vote on a resolution to establish the new committee at its August 5 meeting. If the membership is sorted out early enough, the revised committee may be able to meet on Monday, August 12. Stanley is going to look into having the meetings from that point on recorded for viewing on cable TV and the town website.

Full disclosure: The writer rents her full-time residence intermittently on Airbnb but is not a member of the Shandaken Home Sharing Association.


Pro-STR comment:

There are numerous residents that rely on rental income to make ends meet. Without it, they would not be able to afford to live in their homes. The region benefits from the income and local spending that is brought in. I prefer that money goes to local individuals as well as the resorts and motels in the area, many of whom are owned by “non-local” people. I know other residents who make ends meet by providing services to the rentals, specifically cleaning, maintenance and check-in/check-outs. There’s also the benefit to child care providers and most of the local businesses in the area.

Anti-STR comment:

With the current system, there’s no accountability when renters misbehave. We can text the property owner all day about the loud noises and partying, or about how a bear has gotten into the trash, but the most he can do is text them an admonishment. It’s also always the same problems (including people almost walking into our home thinking it’s the rental) because it’s new renters every time, so little has improved even after communicating with our neighbor/the property owner. It has greatly affected my quality of life, and my husband and I have considered moving to another town without nearby rentals

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