Cold Spring to Crack Down on Airbnb

Board will hire part-time code enforcer and a fire inspector

The Village of Cold Spring is taking steps to improve enforcement of regulations that ban short-term rentals except on county and state roads such as Route 9D.

At its Tuesday (Oct. 1) meeting, Mayor Dave Merandy said the village will hire a part-time code enforcement officer, as well as a part-time fire inspector.

At a packed public meeting on Sept. 17, most village residents expressed support for increased enforcement and fire inspections of short-term rentals such as those offered through Airbnb.

Such rentals are illegal in residential areas zoned R-1, except those on state Routes 9D and 301. Village code also requires homeowners to pay $500 and apply for a special-use permit before renting rooms in a “tourist home.”

The village’s Code Update Committee is working on revisions that would include replacing the term tourist homes with short-term rentals, require owners to be on-site and to provide off-street parking, have proof of insurance and conduct annual fire inspections. The proposed changes would limit rental rooms to three and ban cooking facilities in units.

Cold Spring has not had its own code enforcement officer since 2017, when the village and Philipstown merged their building departments. Merandy said Monday that sharing code enforcement “hasn’t worked so well,” noting that the full-time officer “is overwhelmed at times.”

He said the village is required to hire its new code enforcement officer through Putnam County, which provided a list of six qualified candidates.

Merandy said the village will reach out to the Cold Spring Fire Co. to see if any of its members are interested in the fire inspector position. If not, the village will advertise or contact other fire companies. He said the person would be paid per inspection.

Merandy said he will work with the board to develop a plan for dealing with short-term rentals. “We pretty much know the concerns,” he said. He also repeated his view that there is no need “to reinvent the wheel” since a number of municipalities have already enacted regulations that can serve as a guide.

The Cold Spring Area Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 29 posted a survey to collect its own feedback from Philipstown residents about short-term rentals, and its mixer on Oct. 22 at Glynwood Farm will address the topic. See coldspringnychamber.com.

In other business …

■ Deputy Mayor Marie Early outlined a proposal to expand the free hours at the municipal parking lot on Fair Street to include weekday evenings. Early said that data from the pay station indicated that only as many as 14 of 38 spaces are used at those times. She suggested the village could offer 20 residential permits on a first-come, first-served basis. Residents at the meeting asked that the proposal also include Saturday and Sunday evenings. The board will continue the discussion at its Oct. 22 meeting.

■ James McBride asked the village to extend by 1 foot the orange line on the curb in front of his properties at 24-28 Rock St. McBride complained that drivers ignore the parking restriction and that his driveway is often blocked. Merandy expressed doubt that adding a foot of paint would solve the problem, advising McBride to instead call the police. “Call the police every day?” McBride asked. Merandy responded, “Yes, why not?”

■ The board unanimously declined a request by Ethan Rockmore to purchase a portion of the village-owned sidewalk outside the building formerly occupied by Tightrope Interactive at 114 Main St. Merandy said while the board has approved the sale of village-owned stoops he didn’t support selling portions of sidewalk.

One thought on “Cold Spring to Crack Down on Airbnb

  1. The headline and thrust of your article mischaracterizes the intent of the mayor and board of trustees when considering the hire of a part-time building inspector and code enforcement officer.

    Our intent is not to “crack down” on short-term rentals but to secure the staff necessary to identify and enforce all aspects of the Village Code including, but not limited to, short-term rentals. It’s been clear for a while that combining Cold Spring and Philipstown’s building departments overwhelmed their small staff and thus code enforcement has not received the attention we had hoped for.

    The Board of Trustees will be discussing and developing a strategy to address the need for oversight and permitting of short-term rentals, but as yet, no aspects of this plan have been decided. We received many helpful perspectives from Cold Spring residents during the public meeting, in addition to information gleaned from researching how other towns and villages address this issue.

    Our aim is to devise a system to fairly address the needs of rental hosts and their neighbors alike while, first and foremost, preserving the safety and unique village character we all love.

    Miller is a trustee on the Cold Spring Village Board.

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