Lake Placid Residents, Officials Meet to Iron Out Proposed Vacation Rental Bill
A proposed bill to regulate short-term vacation rentals in the town of North Elba in Lake Placid has been gaining ground. But village folk and community leaders felt that discussions on the issue might have lost momentum.
A town hall meeting was held in June this year to put the talks back on track. Residents, town board members, municipal attorneys, a code enforcement officer, and a justice official attended that meeting. The participants exchanged views on how the piece of legislation could move forward.
The gathering allowed participants to offer suggestions that would hasten the drafting and passage of the bill. The following are the highlights of the meeting, specifically the recommendations made by the discussants.
On Required Facilities
- Vacation rentals should have one parking space for every bedroom. If establishment owners cannot comply with this requirement, they cannot rent out their rooms.
- Once owners sell their rental properties, they cannot transfer their permits to operate to the new owners. A permit is valid for only two years.
- For each room, the maximum occupancy should only be four. Each bedroom must have a bathroom that could accommodate all the occupants.
On the Treatment of Owner and Non-Owner Occupied Properties
- Fees for owners who live in their property will be waived.
- Owners who rent out their place below 14 days in a year do not have to obtain a permit. But they will still have to abide by the code.
On What the Operating Permit Should be
- Individuals who rent for an extended period should pay more. But village trustee Devlin Martin noted that the issue was a tricky one.
- Town Councilman Derek Doty pointed out that the lake placid vacation rental industry is an economic driver.
- Village Trustee Jason Leon views the rental industry as a growing concern. He suggested the need to limit the purchase and rental of houses in the area.
- A portion of the rental fee should go to the Fire Department and Code Enforcement Officer.
On the Proposed Penalties for Rental Owners
The permit to be issued to lake placid vacation rental owners will have a two-year validity period. They will be required to pay the corresponding fees based on the following.
- $500 – one or two-bedrooms
- $1,000 – three to five-bedrooms
- $2,000 – six-bedrooms
- $3,000 – nine-bedrooms or more
On Penalties for Violations
- The fees to be paid by rental owners will depend on whether they are repeat offenders or first-time violators.
- For the first offense, the fee would not be less than $350 but not more than $1,000.
- For the second offense, the fee would not be less than $1,000 but not beyond $3,000.
- The town and village have the right to suspend a violator’s permit.
On the Moratorium for Issuance of Permits
- The body could not decide on whether there was a need to hold a moratorium after the issuance of permits.
- Village officials said the moratorium could help control the number of rental owners who held permits.
- Town officials agreed with their village counterparts. However, the town officers first wanted to know the findings of the code enforcement officer before the moratorium is issued.
Finally, the village and town attorneys agreed to start drafting the legislation within the next two weeks. A public hearing will then be held wherein village and town officials will have a chance to introduce amendments to the draft bill.