Editor’s note: This commentary is in the Nov/Dec 2021 issue of Adirondack Explorer magazine, as part of our “It’s Debatable” feature. In this regular column, we invite organizations and/or individuals to address a particular issue. Click here to subscribe to the magazine, available in both print and digital formats: www.adirondackexplorer.org/subscribe.
The question: Should communities take steps to regulate short-term rentals around the park?
By Steve Hoepfl
In 2018, I saw a news story about Cooperstown updating its local law concerning short-term rentals. They interviewed a resident about the new law. His reply was he thought it was good, that it would help keep the community a place where people could and wanted to live. His reply struck home and I started thinking about the effects these rentals could have on Old Forge and what laws we had in place for them.
I went to the next town board meeting to inquire about such laws and came to find out there weren’t any. I also found that you can’t build a motel in a district zoned residential. But it’s OK to rent a house to different people every day of the week in a residential neighborhood. Isn’t that the same thing?
Plus, I learned that the houses used for short rentals aren’t subject to inspections like a B&B or motel. I asked how many properties have houses on them among Eagle Bay, Hollywood Hills, The Fulton Chain of Lakes, Old Forge, Thendara and Okara Lakes and I was told about 2,600 properties. Three years ago it was estimated that 500 to 700 were being used as short-term rentals. In the spring of 2021 that number had increased to almost 1,500. Would that increase concern you in your community?
While the motels in the area collect around $500,000 in sales tax each year, no such taxes are collected from short-term rentals. The Old Forge Kinney Drugs location is assessed at $1,345,000 and the company pays property taxes on …….