Lakewood Village Trustees Adopt New Short-Term Rental Law

From left, Lakewood Mayor Randy Holcomb, Trustee Rich Fischer, and Trustee Ellen Barnes Monday dicuss the new short-term rental law. P-J photo by Michael Zabrodsky

This story has been updated: In an article Wednesday about the Lakewood short-term rental law, it said permits may be issued in the district, R-2, multiple family. Permits are prohibited in the district, R-2, multiple family.

LAKEWOOD – By a 4-to-1 vote, Lakewood Village Trustees passed a new short-term rental law.

Trustee Nancy Jones, Trustee Rich Fischer, Trustee Ellen Barnes, and Mayor Randy Holcomb all voted in favor of the law while Trustee Ben Troche did not vote in favor of the new law.

Instead, Troche wanted to postpone the vote, but no other trustee or the mayor was in favor of a postponement. Troche said he knows short-term rentals need to be regulated, but he wanted more information before he could cast a vote in favor of the law.

“I cannot vote for a yes yet because I have some questions that I still have regarding internal controls and some other legal questions that I’ve asked. … I don’t think the law is ready to be implemented yet,” Troche said.

On April 15, at a public hearing, Planning Project Manager Molly Gaudioso, of Colliers Engineering and Design defined what a STR is.

“The short-term rental is a dwelling unit and including any surrounding land area, essentially the property as a whole in whole or in part that may be rented out for a period of less than 30 days. And then in this case, we’re looking at that in the context of a business or a commercial use.”

She added that motels, hotels, and bread and breakfast buildings are excluded from the definition.

“I’m voting that we pass this law,” Fischer said. “I have talked to a lot of people. I’ve gotten a lot of emails. There’s a lot of people in the village of Lakewood who have lived here and have voted for us to be here. And to me, those are the people that we are going to respond to. … We are a residential town. We’re not a resort. Consequently, I’m saying that that’s the reason I’m voting for this.”

Barnes said since May 2022 when the board adopted a moratorium on short-term rentals in the village, a lot of work has been done, and it’s been a long process.

“Committees were formed, and they did a wonderful job. They did their homework. This is a committee of people in the village, the residents who live near short term rentals, some that didn’t, a realtor, some that own short term rentals. And everybody, you know, had their input on that. We (village trustees) have done our due diligence and tried to be fair for everyone,” Barnes said.

Barnes added that Lakewood has long been a lakefront community, and short-term rentals change the character of a community. Short-term rentals, Barnes noted, are in contrast to Lakewood and its neighborhoods.

In October 2023, Gaudioso gave a presentation about short-term rentals, and also said then that there is a permitting process. 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. With the permit, there is also a requirement to have a designated 24-hour contact person.

Gaudioso added that there also is a sunset clause that allows for existing short term rentals that may be considered non conforming to continue to operate for up to one year. Nonconforming STRs shall stop operation within one year of the effective date.

The new law is scheduled to take effect five days after it is submitted to New York State which would be on or about April 29 or April 30.

The next board meeting is scheduled for May 13, at 6:30 p.m. at the village hall.


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