The Town Board meeting at Gardiner Town Hall on January 11 seems destined to be preserved in the minutes as one where things that were supposed to happen didn’t, for one reason or another. A scheduled public hearing on the proposed Kennel Law was canceled, because a provision making commercial dog-breeding illegal in certain zones was determined by attorneys to be a zoning change – making it necessary first to refer it to both the Town and Ulster County Planning Boards, and to fill out an Environmental Assessment Form.
Also on the agenda was the adoption, three years in the making, of the final draft of a much-amended Short-Term Rental (STR) Law. It looked set to pass, with Laura Walls, who favors a more restrictive approach, the only likely holdout. But the vote ended up being postponed for reasons having to do with, in councilman Franco Carucci’s words, “more logistics than content.”
It was not a Town Board member who threw a spanner into the works this time, but Michelle Mosher, the Town clerk – and, more to the point in this case, Gardiner’s tax collector. “It’s a really bad time of year,” she said. “I’m in the throes of it right now. The next six weeks are crucial.”
Pleading for a delay until March to implement the new law’s licensing procedure for STR operators, Mosher argued that processing the applications will constitute a burden on Town Hall staff “far more involved than just giving someone a license…. If you adopt it tonight, there’ll be in people in tomorrow looking for that application, and I don’t have that.” She also reminded the Board that Building Department staff, who would need to inspect all properties intended for licensing as STRs, has lately been “slammed” due to the spike in home sales and renovations that resulted from the COVID pandemic.
The Town Board ended up rescheduling the vote until the March 8 meeting. The public hearing on the controversial legislation was closed in November.