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Board putting final touches on short-term rental law

REPORTER FILE PHOTO

REPORTER FILE PHOTO

It seems no minds were changed on the Town Board over the issue of regulating short-term rentals (STRs) in the wake of a lengthy public hearing April 7 at the school auditorium.

At Tuesday’s Town Board work session, Councilmen Paul Shepherd and Jim Colligan, along with Councilwomen Chris Lewis and Amber Brach-Williams, were ready to vote — after a few tweaks — for the proposed legislation and Supervisor Jim Dougherty remained in opposition.

The law would, among other things, limit owners to one rental per 14-day period. Mr. Dougherty has asked for a seven-day minimum, but has been unable to convince his colleagues.

The board could vote on the proposed law at the April 21 Town Board meeting. To read the legislation go to shelterislandtown.us/ and click on “Town Topics” and then “Upcoming Hearings & Laws.”

There was much discussion by the board about dates. In the draft it states that the law will become effective after it’s passed and filed with New York State, and that “all vacation rentals shall obtain a rental license prior to July 1, 2017.” The 14- day limit will be waived if a property owner can prove they have booked their residence prior to the adoption of the ordnance.

But by December 31, 2017, regardless of the date an owner has booked the residence for visitors, all rentals must comply with the 14-day minimum stay.

Mr. Dougherty said the board would put the proposed legislation on the agenda for next week’s work session to finalize the draft.

In an unusual move, the supervisor allowed comments from the audience on the issue even though public comment — except for correspondence — was closed after the April 7 hearing. Several people spoke, most not bothering to address the board from the podium but seated in the audience, and expressed the same points of view that have been aired for the past 18 months.

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