The controversial short-term rental issue continues to spark heated debate in Greenport.
The Greenport code committee has developed a new draft of the short term rental legislation, stating that all short-term rentals must be owner occupied and operated, with non-owner occupied short term rentals not allowed.
Only one short-term rental per unit or structure at a time would be allowed.
In addition, under the proposed code, the short term rental period is defined as period of less than 30 days. A period of more than 30 days is covered under the village’s rental permit law.
Homeowners would need to apply for a $500 short-term rental permit; and if, when properties are inspected, they are found to be in violation of village code, fire code, or building code, the permit could be revoked.
At least one village trustee has concerns with the draft code, stating that he believes Greenport Village Mayor George Hubbard is not hearing the will of the community.
“After a lengthy discussion about compromise options with short term rentals, the mayor swiped it all away in an instant when he directed the attorney to draw up a draft of a law outlawing all short term rentals except owner-occupied,” said Trustee Doug Roberts. “The members of the committee are almost all opposed to short term rentals and I commend them for considering the compromise ideas that had been proposed by me and others. The mayor doesn’t care to compromise, as we have seen from him on every issue these past six months. It is his way or the highway.”
Roberts held his own informal meeting at the Loft in August, inviting community members to speak about short term rentals.
The takeaway of the meeting, Roberts said, is that those in attendance agreed they would be willing to pay higher fees with an eye toward hiring additional code enforcement as well as legal backup.
Next, he said, the group agreed the current rental law could be tweaked and revised to include short-term rentals.
This week, Roberts said, “That coffee klatch had a larger group of residents gathered than any group that the mayor or his supporters on the board have been able to muster. Beyond that we had a diversity of perspectives and developed compromise solutions, all of which the mayor seems perfectly willing to ignore.”
Hubbard said he and the rest of the code committee have been working for over a year on the short-term rental issue, since even before he was elected mayer. He was not willing “to throw out a year’s worth of work,” Hubbard said. Roberts, the mayor said, “has his own feelings. He’s trying to undermine me in all he does.”
The community has been involved in short-term rental discussions for over a year, with all voices taken into consideration, Hubbard said.
The mayor added that the draft is just that, a draft, and has not even been readied to be sent to the village board yet. Once that happens, the village board would still need to review, and a public hearing would be scheduled so residents could weigh in, before any legislation was adopted.
Some residents have expressed concerns that they would not be able to go away for a month and rent out their home under the new code; they have said they believe the draft still needs work.
“One thing is clear: this rush job law is not well thought out, is not supported by many of our constituents, which include short term rental landlords, and creates no revenue to fund enforcement. This law, if passed, will go the way of our existing rental permit law: no teeth, no enforcement, and just a vehicle for the village to continue to enforce against enemies of those in power instead of an opportunity to build a real solution to a problem,” Roberts wrote in an email to SoutholdLOCAL.
The Greenport code committee will discuss short-term rentals today at 4 p.m. in Village Hall.