Municipalities such as the Town of Ithaca and the Village of Lansing have been working on developing a local law for regulating short-term rental housing in their respective areas. Add the Town of Dryden to that list of communities.
The Dryden Town Council will hold a public hearing on its draft of a short-term rental law at its regular business meeting on Nov. 19. The council briefly discussed the local law at a meeting this past Thursday, Nov. 12.
Local resident Kyra Stephanoff wrote an email to the council, expressing her disagreements with the town’s definitions for permitted types of short-term rental housing in the law. According to the drafted law, there are three types of short-term rentals that would be allowed in the town:
1.Rental of a residence or a portion of the residence, such as a secondary self-contained accessory apartment or a room contained in a residence, for a maximum of thirty (30) days total in any calendar year where the owner is not present in the residence, provided that the owner of the residence or his/her agent is available locally in order to respond in a timely manner to complaints regarding the condition of the residence or the property at which the residence is located or regarding the conduct of occupants of the residence.?
2.Rental of a secondary self-contained accessory apartment, provided that the owner of the residence is present in the residence during the term of the rental.
3.Rental of a room, or portion contained in a residence, provided that the owner of the residence is present in the residence during the term of the rental.
In her email, Stephanoff opposed the maximum time period of 30 days written in the first short-term rental type.
“Allowing a room, portion of a residence or whole residence to be rented up to thirty (30) days when the owner of the residence is absent invites irresponsible behavior,” Stephanoff wrote. “And it allows the room, portion or whole residence to be used as a party property since party behavior typically occurs when the rental duration is for one to three nights. Who monitors the renters when the owner is absent?”
She said she worries renters will abuse their stay at a property and that she has witnessed people do just that with one of her neighbors’ properties along Fox Hollow Road.
“Each weekend there were parties going on with some of them lasting late into the night,” she wrote. “As an example of irresponsible and illegal behavior, on the weekend of August 22 there were 8 twenty year olds next door and we were awoken by a woman screaming extremely loudly and for quite awhile. My late husband asked the owner about this later and the owner said that the girl had a panic attack. According to the police log … it was a drug overdose. All the ‘perks’ listed in the advertisement for the ‘Fox Den’ spells ‘party house’ despite the owner’s statement that the place should not be one. The place has: a hot tub, a fire pit, an outdoor grill with all the accessories etc. Not a place to party? Really?”
In her email, Stephanoff suggested the definition of the first type of permitted short-term rental housing be amended so that the rental period for a residence where the owner is not present be limited to a maximum of six consecutive days and a maximum of 30 days per calendar year. In addition, the owner or the owner’s agent “must be available locally in order to respond in a timely manner to complaints regarding the condition of the residence or the property at which the residence is located or regarding the conduct of occupants of the residence.”
The councilpersons discussed Stephanoff’s issues with the proposed law at the meeting last Thursday. Councilman Dan Lamb said one issue with her proposed changes was that a limit of six consecutive days for renting out a residence would alter the intent of the drafted law.
“Some people want to come for a two-week vacation in the Finger Lakes, and, in my opinion, we should take that into consideration that people who do this will want to rent a property for longer than six days but not longer than one month,” Lamb said.
Town Supervisor Jason Leifer said he thinks the problems Stephanoff listed in the email dealt more with noise, which could be solved with the proposed noise ordinance that the council will be holding a public hearing on at its next regular business meeting.
There are two versions of the ordinance that will be up for consideration. The first would regulate parties, gatherings and “unreasonable noise” (i.e. a property owner brings trucks onto the property for some sort of delivery during an unreasonable time either early or late in the day). The second version would strictly cover parties, events and gatherings. Currently the Dryden Zoning Law only regulates noise from commercial activity. Either one of these versions would involve noise regulation in residential neighborhoods.
Those interested in attending either one or both of the public hearings on Nov. 19 should visit the town’s website (dryden.ny.us) for the Zoom login information.