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Reviewing Regulations: Lakewood Board Discuss Short-Term Rental Revisions

From left Lakewood Trustee Ben Troche, Lakewood Trustee Richard Fischer, and Trustee Ellen Barnes, discuss short-term rental revisions Monday. P-J photos by Michael Zabrodsky

LAKEWOOD – The Lakewood Board of Trustees Monday discussed some potential revisions of the short-term rental law.

Also, via Zoom call, trustees heard from Planning Project Manager Molly Gaudioso, of Colliers Engineering and Design.

Trustee Ellen Barnes noted that one potential revision may be about incomplete applications. Barnes had asked, on recommendation from Coding Enforcement Officer Jeff Swanson, language added to note that incomplete STR applications will not be reviewed for approval.

Gaudioso pointed out that the term “incomplete” should try to be avoided and rather use the term “inadequate.”

“What might be considered incomplete applications, we do have language for that we could add in. It’s something that I would sort of recommend. … One thing I just want to note is, we try to avoid using the term incomplete just because there sometimes are implications as to what that means for SEQR – the State Environmental Quality Review process,” Gaudioso said.

Gaudioso added that it would be essentially applications that are inadequate, which do not follow or don’t have all of the information that’s required by the code.

At its Feb. 12 meeting, the board heard from STR Committee Member Carrie Cadwell-Brown said that the language should be strengthened and consistent throughout the proposed new law. Cadwell-Brown noted that there is still some fine-tuning regarding the language, but the law is almost ready for a vote by trustees.

Both Barnes and Cadwell-Brown refer to short-term rentals are considered businesses or non-residential uses.

Trustees also discussed whether or not to include a sunset clause in the proposed STR law.

Village Attorney Marilyn Fiore-Lehman noted that a sunset clause addition is a decision to be made by trustees and the STR committee.

In October 2023, Gaudioso gave a presentation about STR regulations. One potential benefit of a STR, Gaudioso said then, is that property owners can diversify potential streams of revenue. Gaudioso also noted that other potential benefits are the village may see an increase in local economic activities and tourisms as well as an increased supply can restrain price growth for STRs and make traveling more affordable.

Some potential STR issues, Gaudioso outlined in the October meeting, included overcrowding and increased transiency in neighborhoods, increasing housing costs or units being taken off the rental and ownership markets, and a negative impact on employment and hospitality industry due to the shift to STRs from traditional hotels.

Gaudioso said the permit process includes receiving a special-use permit which is valid for one year from the date of issuance. The permit will not be transferable to new owners. New owners will have to apply for a permit in which an inspection is part of the permit for enforcement purposes, and a payment registration for occupancy tax is required. There are potential location restrictions. Permits are prohibited in districts R-1, single family; R-3, mobile residential; and L-1, light industrial. Permits may be issued in districts, R-2, multiple family; B-1, retail business; B-2, highway, and B-2.1 overlay auto.

At their Oct. 9, 2023 meeting, village trustees voted to extend the short-term rental moratorium period that will be extended for another 180 days. The extension went into effect on Nov. 9, 2023. In May 2022, the board adopted a moratorium on STRs in the village. Then, Holcomb said a moratorium gives the village time to review zoning regulations.

Deputy Mayor Ben Troche said the next steps for the proposed law are to make revisions, hold a public hearing, make any other possible revisions from input gathered at the public hearing, and then hold a vote on the final draft.

To view the STR regulations draft, visit lakewoodny.com.

In other business:

Trustees approved the 2024 license agreement between the village and the Chautauqua Lake Community Sailing Foundation Inc. for the period of March 1 through Oct. 31.

Trustees approved to remove Deputy Clerk Krysten Sisson off her probation period, and increase her salary to $41,600.

Trustees tabled a special music permit for live music on July 20 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at 59 E. Terrace Ave.

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