Nelsonville Proposes Short-Term Rental Law

Similar to Cold Spring statute, with two categories

The Nelsonville Village Board voted 3 to 1 this week to pursue regulation of short-term rentals and scheduled a public hearing on the draft legislation for Oct. 18.

After several years of intermittently considering controls on rental of apartments, rooms or homes arranged through services such as Airbnb, the board unveiled a draft law last winter and held a spirited hearing before temporarily shelving it.

Unlike the earlier version, the latest draft would create a two-tier permit system: One permit would allow hosts to rent for up to 30 days at a time and for up to 100 days annually. The village would limit these permits to 15 annually, representing 7 percent of the 215 houses in Nelsonville (up from 5 percent in the earlier version). The board could increase that number in a given year. 

The second type of permit would allow the rental of a unit for two periods of up to one-week each, or a maximum of 14 days yearly, to accommodate visitors for events such as West Point graduation. The draft law does not limit the number issued.

Any property with a short-term rental (STR) would have to be the primary residence of the owners, meaning they live there at least 185 days each year. If the owners were not on the premises, they or a manager would have to respond in 30 minutes to problems. (The draft law would not cover traditional bed-and-breakfasts or hotels and motels, which are regulated separately in the village code.)  

Hosts would need to register with the village, have their rentals inspected by the code enforcement officer/building inspector, and pay $250 for a permit, renewable annually for $150.

Other draft provisions state:

  • Permits would expire if a property changed ownership.
  • No trailers, tents, sheds and garages could be rented as STRs.
  • An STR must include a toilet, sink and shower or tub with hot and cold drinkable water.
  • STR properties cannot be used for commercial events, such as concerts.

Mayor Mike Bowman and Trustees Chris Winward and Dave Moroney voted to move the draft forward. Trustee Kathleen Maloney voted no, saying that she thinks it could have been improved. Trustee Maria Zhynovitch was absent.

Sonia Ryzy-Ryski and Rudy Van Dommele, who rent units through Airbnb, including an Airstream trailer on their 5-acre site near the Haldane campus, again criticized the village approach. 

“What constitutes the Airbnb crisis in Nelsonville and how is this law going to change anything?” Van Dommele asked. “This is not a big city that needs big regulations.”

Ethan Timm suggested the law could allow homes such as his, on larger lots, to offer rentals more frequently than those whose neighbors are only a few feet away.

Frank Caccetta, who lives on Main Street, maintained that short-term rentals “bring in crime” as thieves “spend a couple of days, look around, case the joint, come back later.”

Bowman urged residents to comment at the Oct. 18 hearing.

One thought on “Nelsonville Proposes Short-Term Rental Law

  1. The Village of Nelsonville is acting in an arbitrary and irrational manner in moving to deprive residents of property interests which have been and are allowable by the zoning code.

    Property owners in Nelsonville have valid property interests within the meaning of the U.S. Constitution: a practicable right to communicate freely with the public regarding the nature of their homes and to enter into private contracts with them independently of state interference.

    There is no demonstrated rational relationship between Nelsonville’s stated ends (safety, housing stock preservation and community character protection) and its means (enactment of Article IX of the code). The Village Board has provided conflicting and inconclusive data as justifications for the arbitrary limitations on short-term rentals it is proposing.

    For example, its own survey shows less than 50 percent support for four of the six proposed regulations. The applicability of the proposed regulation cannot be fairly determined because there are no definitions offered or data provided regarding safe-ty or the impact of short-term rentals on local housing stock availability — and “community character” is in the eye of the beholder.

    I constructed my home and attached an annex apartment in 2018 with the reasonable expectation that I would be able to recoup my investment through rentals as I deemed fit and as allowed by the zoning laws at the time. When I purchased the property, no limits existed on the number of days per year that properties could be rented, and the “letting of rooms” was allowed in the zone. The proposed regulation limiting the number of days for short-term rentals will interfere with this reasonable financial expectation.

    This will constitute, therefore, a violation of due process or an unjustified regulatory “taking,” which, as documented in the request for feedback on the village website, could push at least four Nelsonville residents to lose their homes.