Some Airbnbs Would Be Banned Under Proposed New Paltz Law

The Village of New Paltz is proposing to ban short-term rentals such as Airbnbs from its residential areas if the operator does not live on the premises.

The proposal is intended to preserve the character of residential neighborhoods and keep monthly rental prices low, according to the draft law.

New Paltz Mayor Tim Rogers said he supported the way in which many short-term rentals (STRs) operated, and the law would not ban these.

“I’m a big proponent of people using something that they own to (financially) soften things,” he said, such as a professor renting his house out on a short-term rental site during the summer to help pay their property taxes.

However, Rogers is opposed to STR operators renting out multiple properties, essentially running what amounts to decentralized hotels. The City of Hudson has fought against this practice, and Woodstock limited the number of “non-owner occupied” STRs in the town.

Under current law, “You could be an Airbnb operator and just buy ten houses, all in a residential neighborhood, and change all of Prospect Street into hotels,” Rogers said.

The law would instill a legal barrier against the practice in residential zones in the village, which cover nearly 90 percent of the municipality. STRs where the owner occupies the residence nine months a year could still operate.

Rogers said he does not believe there are STR operators with multiple properties in the village, and that no current STR operators would have to stop because of the proposed law.

STRs already must register with the village under rental laws originally written for long-term leases, according to Rogers, though he admitted “some have slipped through the cracks.”

The village’s rental registry does not specify if the rental is short- or long-term, but the STR analysis site AirDNA lists about 30 STRs in the village of 7,000. This pales in comparison to the number of STRs in some nearby communities with similar populations, such as Rhinebeck, where AirDNA lists about 100 STRs, and Woodstock, where the town government capped STRs at 340 in 2019.

Rogers believes the village has been insulated from multi-property STR operators because of the high demand for monthly rentals from SUNY New Paltz students.

Anyone found violating the proposed law would be given a written warning. If they do not comply, fines will be issued, the amount of which will be decided by the Board of Trustees.

Rogers is concerned how STRs could affect New Paltz’s community character.

“None of the people who [rent STRs] will volunteer on the zoning board of appeals or the planning board or organize the library fair – none of them will, whereas if you have long-term renters, plenty of those people contribute to the community in many ways,” he said.

The public comment period for the proposed law is open during the next two Village Board meetings on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m., and Wednesday. Dec. 16, also at 7 p.m. The meetings are virtual, and the links will be posted on the Village of New Paltz homepage with directions on how to comment.

The Hudson Valley has been inundated with short-term rentals in the last few years, with Ulster County seeing the biggest surge. About 185,000 guests stayed in county Airbnbs in 2019, according to Airbnb spokeswoman Liz DeBold Fusco, more than quadruple the number who stayed in Orange County.

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