Cold Spring Airbnb Law All But Complete

Number of rentals allowed would increase

The Cold Spring Village Board at its Tuesday (June 22) meeting made what could be final revisions to a proposed law to regulate short-term rentals such as Airbnbs. 

No major changes were made on Tuesday and no vote was taken because Mayor Dave Merandy and Trustee Tweeps Woods were each on vacation and not in attendance. The draft is expected to be discussed again at next week’s board meeting.

The debate over what many residents see as a proliferation of short-term rentals in the village began in earnest in September 2019 at a standing-room-only public meeting at the firehouse. More recently, on May 6, about 50 residents attended a hearing held via Zoom.

The original proposal limited the total number of short-term rentals to 34 and included restrictions such as prohibiting STRs from operating within 300 feet of each other, limiting rentals to owner-occupied buildings, and allowing a maximum of 60 rental nights per year, with two-night minimum stays.

Based on feedback from the mayor and trustees, as well as from residents before the public hearing closed on May 18, the board made revisions to the draft. 

As revised, the law would permit 49 STRs, or 7 percent of the 655 properties in the R-1, I-1 and B-1 districts. Of those, 33 “hosted” STRs, in which the owner lives in the residence, would be allowed, along with 16 “unhosted” STRs. 

The revised law also would allow for one-time, annual rentals of up to 14 days for events such as West Point graduation. 

Property owners would need to carry at least $500,000 in liability insurance, a decrease from the $2 million coverage in the previous version. 

The requirement that no STR could operate within a radius of 300 feet from another short-term rental was revised to prohibit STRs from operating within 300 linear feet of another rental on the same street.

Some other highlights from the law:

  • All STRs would require a permit, valid for one year, with applicants selected by a lottery.
  • Owners must occupy the structures for at least 260 nights per year.
  • Rental can only be offered to one party at a time. 
  • In R-1 and I-1 zoning districts, one off-street parking space must be provided.
  • Properties owned by corporations or LLCs cannot be rented as an STR.
  • Parties and gatherings are not permitted.
  • Check-in will not be permitted between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. 
  • The fine for operating without a permit will be $2,000 for the first offense and loss of ability to apply the following year; the second offense is a $5,000 fine and no use of the site as an STR for four years. 
  • Appeals would be adjudicated by the Village Board.

In other business …

  • The former Whistling Willie’s restaurant at 184 Main St. will soon reopen with a new name and ownership. Kostas Koustoubekis, who operates Juan Murphy’s Pub in Poughkeepsie, told The Current he hopes to open J. Murphy’s in August in the historic building, which has been a tavern since before the Civil War. The Village Board waived the 30-day waiting period for filing for a liquor license.
  • Trustees accepted the resignation of Officer Ed Boulanger from the Cold Spring Police Department, effective June 29. Boulanger joined the department 34 years ago and is its most senior officer. 
  • The mayor will sign an agreement with the Town of Philipstown to install two electric vehicle charging stations on Main Street west of the Metro-North tracks, adjacent to the pedestrian tunnel.
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