STR Owners Call for Relaxation of Regulations in Lake Placid | News, Sports, Jobs
LAKE PLACID — A coalition of about 40 Lake Placid short-term vacation rental owners is resurfacing with a new name and a goal to ease village officials’ restrictions on day limits and non-stay STR permits in their new STR regulations.
Members of the coalition, formerly known as “Gold Medal Hospitality” began speaking on behalf of their group in public hearings in 2019, when village officials proposed their first set of STR bylaws. Now, as the village board nears the end of its process to update the village’s STR bylaws, coalition members are advocating for changes in village leadership. Coalition co-chair Kris Sandor said the coalition included STR owners from the village and the town of North Elba, but he said the group was primarily concerned about the STR regulations proposed by the village council.
The coalition, made up mostly of STR owners in residential areas of the village, released a statement last week identifying the group under a new name: Adirondack Families Rental Association. Sandor said the group wanted a new name that was more representative of its members: families who have a strong connection to the Adirondacks.
Sandor, a Connecticut resident who rents out his second home in Lake Placid as an STR, said AFRA members want village officials “consider strongly” the coalition’s recommendations – released last week ahead of the Village’s first draft of the proposed STR regulations – for changes to the Village’s ideas. The coalition’s recommendations include not differentiating between hosted and non-hosted properties; not limit the number of days a property can be rented, which is proposed at 90 days for hosted and non-hosted rentals in the current draft village regulations; limit permits to a single property; do not exclude STRs from certain neighborhoods in favor of a cap on the permits issued; and cap the number of DOS at one “within reason” Number. The current draft Village STR Regulations do not propose a cap on STR permits in any district; instead, non-accommodated STR permits would no longer be issued in residential areas.
Coalition members also want to be able to pass on their STR permits in residency permits to their children when they inherit their homes, according to Sandor. The Village Council proposes that all existing non-accommodated STR permits in residential areas be terminated in the event of a change in ownership.
Sandor said AFRA’s goal in releasing its recommendations is to hold village officials accountable in their process of reforming STR regulations. For Sandor, this means encouraging public servants to use “Data” and “evidence” to support the new regulations.
Sandor said coalition members believe that some village board members entered the process of regulating STRs in an effort to eliminate rentals altogether. No member of the village council has publicly stated that they want to eliminate DOS altogether. He believed that village officials ignored the economic benefits of STRs as presented in previous studies and favored anecdotal evidence that the community disliked STRs. Sandor also believed that the village council had set up its original settlement “and just left” without conducting a study to see if these laws were effective. Now, with the latest reform of the village’s STR regulations, Sandor said, “It’s almost like they’re just trying to finish what they started years ago.” Members of village and town councils have said in the past that the current STR regulations are intended as a kind of foundation, to be modified or developed further.
“It was always their intention” he said of village officials. “When we’re in a rush, when we’ve asked them, ‘Where is the data? Where are the facts? we get shrugs.
Over the past several months, the Village and Town of North Elba have worked closely with the Lake Placid-North Elba Land Use Code Committee to study the presence of STRs in the area, compliance with STRs and public opinion on STR regulations. The committee conducted a survey which found that more than half of the 420 surveyors were dissatisfied with current STR regulations, and the committee made recommendations on how the village and town could better regulate STRs. . While the village and town officials’ ideas for new STR regulations do not include all of the committee’s recommendations, many of the officials’ ideas are rooted in the committee’s work – namely the proposed ban on new STR permits not accommodated in residential areas of the village and town. .
AFRA compiled and released its own study this summer. The study was sent to 80 STR owners in the village, many of them in residential areas. AFRA spokesman Joshua Poupore said 28 people responded to the survey.
The survey found that the 28 STR owners estimated their rentals accounted for approximately $1 million in direct expenses for local restaurants and shops, an additional $1.8 million for housekeepers, landscapers and managers local real estate and $200,000 in county tourist tax. It is unclear whether these figures were considered annual. The survey also found that around 75% of respondents lose money on their STR, break even, or only earn a “negligible profit” on the income it generates.
Only one survey participant said they received a complaint about their STR, which the AFRA statement says invalid “the ‘harmful’ allegation that some board members are arguing without any data as grounds for action.”