Cold Spring neighbors clash over easement, parking
When Cold Spring adopted a law in August regulating short-term rentals, more than one STR operator hinted at legal action against the village, claiming the law is too restrictive. Even then-Mayor Dave Merandy said lawsuits seemed likely.
He was right. The first lawsuit over a STR in Cold Spring was filed early last month.
But the suit, entered in Putnam County Supreme Court, is not aimed at the village: It pits neighbor against neighbor.
Carl Mauro, the owner of an apartment building at 153 Main St., is seeking an injunction to prohibit Frederique Henriot from operating an STR in the house she owns at 3 Furnace St. He is seeking $150,000 in damages as well as legal costs, which he said total more than $9,000 to date.
Norah Hart, Mauro’s lawyer, provided The Current with a copy of the complaint. No court date has been set.
There is a short gap between the rear of Mauro’s and Henriot’s properties; the two lots almost abut. Mauro claims to have access to the back of his lot from Furnace Street via an easement over a 5-foot strip of Henriot’s property. He alleges his access has been blocked when Henriot or her STR guests park their vehicles on the easement.
The complaint states that when Mauro asked Henriot to stop blocking access to his property, she replied by letter that her “driveway is recorded as a two-car driveway with an easement with 155 Main St. I have no documentation of an easement with 153 Main St.,” adding that she will continue to park her car “within my property line.”
Henriot said she is representing herself in the lawsuit and that she will “let the courts handle the matter of the easement.” She declined to comment further.
The suit also claims that Henriot’s rental business, which she advertises on a service called VRBO, violates three provisions of the village STR law.
The law requires three years of owner-occupancy of a property before it can be offered as an STR; Henriot purchased 3 Furnace St. in January 2021.
The village code also requires an STR owner to provide one off-street parking spot; the suit claims Henriot’s operation violates that provision because the space used for guest parking is less than the 18-by-9-foot legal standard.
Finally, the law requires that when a driveway is shared at an STR, those with rights to the driveway must agree to sharing. Mauro said he has not agreed to share the easement with guests at Henriot’s STR.
According to village officials, Henriot has not applied for a permit to operate an STR.
“This case illustrates the purpose of title insurance,” Hart wrote in an email on Jan. 12, explaining that Henriot also claims to have an easement over property between her and Mauro’s lots. “Her easement conflicts with an easement my client was granted in 1995; Henriot’s title search should have discovered that prior easement.”
And so it begins. Please upload the complaint filed by Hart.
We’ve added a link in the story to a copy of the complaint.