Cold Spring to Revise Short-Term Rental Law

Also, change of use requested at Butterfield 

Mayor Kathleen Foley, at the Wednesday (Feb. 9) monthly meeting of the Cold Spring Village Board, said Village Attorney John Furst is formulating next steps that will enable the board to “revise and improve” a local law governing short-term rentals such as those booked through Airbnb.

“The law is cumbersome; it is beyond the capacity of our small staff to enforce,” Foley said, adding that as written, the law can’t achieve one of its basic goals, to ensure the safety of STRs “through inspection and permitting.”

Foley said the law identifies the Cold Spring Police Department as responsible for enforcement, even though the law’s provisions are “within the realm of code enforcement.” 

The mayor’s comments came during a discussion of a request from a village resident for an exemption from one of the law’s provisions.

Marty Anne Remy was denied an STR permit because she has not lived in her Cedar Street home for at least three years as required by the law. Her request for the exemption was also denied. 

The STR law, outlined in Chapter 100 of the village code, was enacted in August by a 3-2 vote by the previous board, headed by Mayor Dave Merandy. Foley, who was then a trustee, and Tweeps Woods, who had been appointed by Merandy to fill a vacancy, were the “no” votes. (Woods was elected to the board in November.)

Among the law’s provisions are a lottery system for issuing permits, a maximum of 49 rental units that can each operate for no more than 90 nights per year, off-street parking requirements and a minimum separation of 300 feet between STRs. 

On the advice of the village attorney, Trustee Joe Curto recused himself from Wednesday’s discussion. Curto has an STR permit that allows him to rent his home for a maximum of 14 days a year, either on consecutive nights or in two, seven-day periods.

That permit category allowed continuation of a longstanding village tradition, the renting out of homes during West Point graduation week or when a family goes on vacation. 

Curto said on Thursday (Feb. 10) that he is considering having his permit rescinded so that he could take part in discussions. 

Revising the law is “probably the most sane and logical way to go,” Trustee Cathryn Fadde said. “We’re just trying to keep people safe; we don’t want to become a police village.”

Trustee Eliza Starbuck said the discussion was about more than denying Remy’s request for an exemption. “We’re saying that this law doesn’t make sense; it is unenforceable,” she said.

Foley said public input will be sought throughout the review process, which will include a public hearing.

In other business …

  • The Planning Board is considering an application for a change of use at the yet-to-be constructed Building No. 1 at the Butterfield redevelopment. The change would switch 9,000 square feet designated as office space to six senior rental apartments. The 6,000 square feet approved for retail use would not change. 
  • A resolution awarding a contract to Royal Carting for collection of garbage and recyclables was postponed for one week to allow time for the company’s attorney to review the proposed contract.
  • Philipstown Town Board Member Bob Flaherty updated the board on the town recycling center at 59 Lane Gate Road, which is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It operates on the honor system and accepts household recycling as well as white goods such as stoves, refrigerators and ovens.
  • Village Accountant Michelle Ascolillo reported that many of the restrictions on how the village can spend $200,000 it will receive through the federal American Rescue Plan have been eased. Village departments have begun drafting their spending plans for the next fiscal year; the budget must be submitted to the state by May 1.
  • The ad hoc committee responsible for reviewing Cold Spring Police Department policies will meet for the first time on Feb. 23. The group was established in response to a statewide executive order issued in 2020 by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Ed Currelley is the chair.
  • The Recreation Commission has received requests for two ticketed events at Mayor’s Park: Hops on the Hudson on July 16 and the Putnam County Wine and Food festival on Aug. 6 and 7. The commission plans to hire an event coordinator. 
  • The Police Department responded to 74 calls for service in January, including what has become a recurring problem: 24 false alarms at the NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Offices at Butterfield. Officers issued 42 parking and 11 traffic tickets. There were no arrests.
  • The 11 calls the Cold Spring Fire Co. responded to in January included four activated fire alarms, two chimney fires, two motor vehicle crashes, a car fire, an elevator rescue and an EMS assist. In his report, Chief Jeff Phillips reminded village residents to keep at least a 3-foot radius around hydrants clear of snow.
  • The Highway Department collected 29.6 tons of garbage last month and 17.6 tons of recyclables.

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