Also, village creates short-term rental committee
The members of the Cold Spring Village Board on Wednesday (June 1) voted unanimously to stop accepting requests to display flags on village-owned property, including Village Hall.
The village attorney, John Furst, advised the board to adopt the policy. He will now draft a regulation that will allow only the U.S., New York State and POW/MIA flags to be displayed.
The Cold Spring board earlier this year approved requests for Ukrainian and LGBTQ Pride flags to be displayed at locations such as Village Hall and parks.
“We didn’t think through the Pandora’s box that was being opened,” said Mayor Kathleen Foley. “You get into that sticky area where you are acting as arbitrator of free speech.”
The Ukrainian flag was removed from Village Hall a few weeks ago. Pride flags will remain on display through June, Foley said.
“Our facilities are places where the public comes for services,” Foley said. “I don’t want anyone to have to walk under a symbol that they aren’t comfortable with or that makes them feel unwelcome.”
The Philipstown Town Board on May 25 adopted a similar six-month moratorium, with the temporary exception of an LGBTQ flag that is flying in June and a Ukrainian flag in a window, while it considers a policy.
At the same meeting, the board appointed seven members of a newly formed ad hoc committee to provide recommendations on short-term-rental regulations.
Last month the board proposed a number of changes to an STR law adopted in 2021, including allowing rentals only if the owner lives on site, increasing the number of operating nights and revising fees and fines.
The mayor proposed nine people, including Branis Buslovich, Peter Farrell, John Lane, Maryanne Remy, Lara Voloto and Tom O’Quinn, each of whom operates an STR. (O’Quinn’s is located in California.) The mayor also suggested Travis Fyfe, Megan Shea and Jennifer Zwarich, the only non-STR operators among the 15 people who applied.
Trustees Eliza Starbuck, Cathryn Fadde and Laura Bozzi suggested reducing the size of the committee. “Nine can be a lot; even scheduling is tough,” Bozzi said, while Starbuck suggested the committee had too many STR operators.
Starbuck suggested that because Lane had already provided extensive input on STRs, he didn’t need to be on the committee. Farrell also has been substantially involved in discussions about the law.
“You raise a good point; we’ve had a lot of good feedback from them,” Foley said. “This is an opportunity for fresh voices, creative approaches.”
“I’m a little agnostic as to the number” of members, said Trustee Tweeps Phillips Woods. “This is probably the best balance we’re going to get. Being an STR operator doesn’t mean you won’t be reasonable and balanced in your thinking.”
The board agreed to limit the committee to seven members, and to not include Lane and Farrell.
“I’d like more time to think about the chair; having a strong chair is important,” Foley said, adding she would make a recommendation at next week’s meeting.
In other business, the board continued discussions on the village parking plan, which was adopted last year by the previous administration but not implemented. The current board has agreed that the residential permit program, covering 11 streets north of the Metro-North tracks, will go into effect first, as early as this summer, followed by paid parking on Main Street.