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Lyme rental law proposal draws strong opposition

pCHAUMONT — Rental property owners, residents and other business owners blasted the Lyme Town Council on Wednesday for a proposed law that would add restrictions to new short-term rentals. /ppThe draft law, which has been in the works since September, would require anyone who wants to operate a new short-term rental to secure a zoning permit and would prohibit any new rentals of properties that were not owner-occupied, or occupied primarily by the owners or their families. It also places operational restrictions. Existing rental properties would be grandfathered in under the new law. /ppThe public hearing for the law at the town office drew dozens of people who filled almost every seat in the meeting room. Airbnb’s website lists several properties within the town as short-term rental options, and at least some of the owners attended the hearing. /ppMany, including real estate broker and owner of Lake Ontario Realty, Amanda Miller, who operates four rental properties in the town as short-term rentals, said the law was too restrictive and prohibitive. Several, like Ms. Miller, urged the board to strike it, but some encouraged revisions to address concerns involving reckless driving, parking issues, noise and other nuisances while maintaining support for the industry. /pp“I view this as a law that’s looking for a problem. I don’t think we should even deal with this,” said Patrick Hadley, who has rented his Point Peninsula property several times. /ppAfter receiving about 30 comments during the 90-minute public hearing, most from opponents of the law, the board decided to take no further action. /ppOfficials also decided to create a committee to review and recommend changes to the law. Anyone interested in volunteering to join the committee should contact Town Clerk Ariana Mattraw at 315-649-2788. /ppTown Supervisor Scott G. Aubertine said he pushed for the law after receiving 10 to 12 complaints from constituents about issues involving rental property. A few people at the meeting supported the law, expressing umbrage with uncleanliness, fireworks and reckless driving by people renting nearby properties. /pp“I want to answer our residents’ concerns even if there are only a dozen,” he said. /ppRegulations prohibiting non-owner occupied rental units and establishing occupancy limits, which would allow only two people per sleeping room unless it’s below 100 square feet and two more per property, prompted extensive criticism./ppResident Erin Welch-Albro, who owns Snug Harbor and a rental property in Cape Vincent, said she eventually wants to purchase property in the town to operate as short-term rentals, but the room size and occupancy restrictions would inhibit her endeavors. /ppRestaurateurs like Blue Heron owner Cari Greene said short-term rentals help buoy local businesses when several seasonal residents leave during the winter by attracting more people to the area, and feared the law would have far-reaching consequences. /pp“Please, please look at this from every spectrum,” she said. /p

Source: https://www.mymalonetelegram.com

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