Letter: Woodstock’s cap on short-term rentals won’t solve affordability issue

The purpose of this letter is to expand on the comments regarding short-term rentals (STRs) I made at the June 8 Woodstock Public Hearing, and reported on 6/16/21 in Hudson Valley One.

In an effort to improve availability of affordable long-term lodging, the town of Woodstock, without a public hearing, decided to require STR permits and set a cap lower than the number of approved STRs at that time.  The town is now proposing a nine-month moratorium on STRs.  While the council is well-meaning, these laws do not resolve the problem of affordable housing and deny the rights of homeowners who already registered an STR with Ulster County and have been paying taxes on STR income.

Most STRs are not candidates for long-term rentals since their owners use their houses whenever they can.  They have STRs to defray some property costs, enabling them to enjoy their house when they can, maintain it over time, and contribute to the community. They provide numerous benefits to a variety of different stakeholders, including:

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  • Provide revenue to local residents who help maintain the house.
  • Deliver customers who support local businesses, helping Woodstock thrive.
  • Help to keep properties in good condition, supporting neighborhood quality.
  • Support Woodstock and Ulster County infrastructure through additional taxes.

Dozens of homeowners have tried to and not been allowed to purchase STR permits.  This is especially heartbreaking for families who have been part of the community for many years (45 years in my case) and won’t be able to keep their homes and ties to Woodstock because of these new proposed laws.

Lisa Kollisch

Woodstock

There is one comment

  1. Dave Channon

    A far better way to deal with the affordable housing crisis is to start taxing billionaires and corporations. They suck the life out of our economy, making it hard to subsidize housing, health care and education. STRs have positive and negative impacts. I recommend a license system that grants full time residents and true second home owners a way to afford their mortgages in these tough times. Only one license should be granted for any non-owner occupied address in any town per person, household, or LLC. Do not grant a license to land sharks who snatch up multiple residential houses and flood the STR market while waiting for their “investments” to increase in value. STR “permits” travel with the house, inflating the sale price, and are hard to revoke once issued. Licenses apply to the person and can more easily be taken away in cases of bad behavior. The permit process actually favors land sharks who can easily afford extensive renovations and legal permit requirements better than people of modest means who own “lived in” homes. This would result in a wave of nicely renovated homes becoming long term rentals, or going back on the market.

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