After several months of discussing possible legislation to control short-term rentals on the Island, the Town Board at its Friday meeting set January 27 as a date for a public hearing on the draft, but not before hearing a complaint about the timing.
Three quarters of town residents aren’t on the Island in late January, Phil DiOrio told the Town Board at its Friday meeting, arguing that a hearing in winter would cut off peoples’ opportunity to comment on what he called “an important issue.”
The goal is to get a law on the books before the summer season, Town Attorney Laury Dowd said. The reason a draft is so late in appearing is that there have been so many comments from residents and Island business people during work sessions and regular meetings, she said.
The Town Board has listened to arguments on both sides of the issue, Councilman Jim Colligan agreed.
There’s nothing in the draft dealing with disturbing the peace and no restrictions, Mr. DiOrio said. What he fears, he said, is having the Island turn into a hotel community, noting that the lack of year round rentals and declining enrollment in Shelter Island School are all related to short-term rentals.
“I don’t know if there’s a right answer to this,” Councilman Paul Shepherd said. But he speculated that the hearing might well be kept open after January.
In the meantime, those unable to attend the hearing can submit their views in writing.
The hearing is slated for 4:40 p.m. on Friday, January 27.
The draft legislation is on the town’s website under Town Topics at the top right of the front page and then click on Upcoming hearings and laws. A hard copy can be read at the Town Clerk’s office.
In other business, the Town Board:
• Appointed Gordon Gooding as chairman and Kathleen Gerard as a member of the Community Preservation Fund Advisory Board.
• Extended the license by five years to 2042 for the Taylor’s Island Foundation.
• Raised the annual fee for docking boats at the Congdons Creek dock to $500 to bring it into line with other town docks.
• Unanimously approved construction of a 172-foot retaining wall at Crescent Beach as recommended by the Water Management Advisory Council.
• Set Wednesday, December 28, at 1 p.m. for a Town Board meeting to handle end of the year business.
• Set Tuesday, January 3, at 1 p.m. as the time for the Town Board reorganizational meeting.