In a surprise move at the April 13 Gardiner Town Board meeting, following many months of heated public input over proposed legislation to regulate short-term rentals (STRs) in the township, supervisor Marybeth Majestic broached the possibility of holding off on adopting the new law until after a full update of Gardiner’s Comprehensive Plan has been completed toward the end of the year. Citing the heavy workload before the board this summer as it reviews the plan adopted in 2004, she suggested “maybe just simple licensing for now,” with a return to consideration of such controversial details as limits on eligibility, days per year and number of rooms for STRs after the language of the Comprehensive Plan has been modernized to reflect current trends in vacation housing.
The supervisor expressed concern about the fact that public hearings on the proposed STR law have been heavily dominated by STR operators and employees, noting that the comprehensive plan update process will include a series of public forums as well as outreach to diverse stakeholder groups. “While we’re working on the Comp Plan, we can get input from the community,” she said. “We’ve heard a lot from STR owners, but we haven’t heard much from people outside that.” She also reminded the board the Ulster County is currently developing a Housing Action Plan that may impact the shape of the final STR legislation.
Majestic’s suggestion of a phased “stopgap” approach to STR regulation elicited a mixed response from the Town Board. Councilman David Dukler asked that a proposal he had submitted that “goes in a different direction” be given consideration. “Let’s look at both,” said councilman Franco Carucci. “We can have a discussion at the May meeting.”
A timeline developed by Majestic and deputy supervisor Laura Walls for the overhaul of the Comprehensive Plan projects an initial public engagement phase running through the end of June, drafting of new plan language by the board in July and August, forums for public reaction in September and October and SEQR review in November. The topic “will be on every agenda between now and December 14, when hopefully we will adopt a Comprehensive Plan,” said Walls.