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Board returns to short-term rental discussion

CHARITY ROBEY PHOTO | Councilwoman Mary Dudley led the discussion at Tuesday's Town Board work session on legislating short-term rentals.

CHARITY ROBEY PHOTO | Councilwoman Mary Dudley led the discussion at Tuesday’s Town Board work session on legislating short-term rentals.

The magic number by which a rental would be considered short-term could be 13.

At their Tuesday work session, Town Board members discussed legislation setting regulations to cover short-term rentals.

Councilwoman Mary Dudley led the discussion through 16 points meant to guide her colleagues to a final decision.

The board was inclined to recommend that rentals of 14 or more nights would not be considered short-term.

For weeks, the board has listened to those in favor and against legislation on the subject and have received numerous emails and letters. But Tuesday was a day for them to discuss the issue among themselves before a proposed resolution is written and presented at a public hearing.

A board resolution is likely to call for licensing of rentals rather than registration, since members agreed licensing could mean violators would lose their right to rent their houses after three substantiated violations.

Applications for licenses would have to list not only the contact information for the property owner, but information for a contact person on Shelter Island 24 hours a day, seven days a week who could respond and take action if any problems developed.

All renters would receive a “good neighbor brochure” to inform them of rules and regulations, including those related to water use.

A license would likely be priced at $250 for the owner and would be good for two years before it would have to be renewed.

The board didn’t address how violators would be punished, except to lean toward  revocation of a license after three violations.

Councilman Paul Shepherd said he was “reluctantly” agreeing with his colleagues about using licensing rather than a registration list.

Among issues that were left open was a suggestion to use revenues from licenses to pay for a part-time code enforcer. Another open issue was whether to allow homeowners to post signs announcing that short-term accommodation was available.

The board will continue the discussion at next Tuesday’s work session in an effort to move nearer to a resolution that could be presented to the public.

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