Dutchess County Town Seeks Balance in Airbnb, Short-Term Rental Market

As Airbnbs and other rental properties proliferate in the Hudson Valley, more local governments are considering regulations to better manage the number of short stays in their communities. The latest to come forward is the town of Red Hook in Dutchess County.

There, under a recently tabled bill, all short-term rentals should be registered with the city to receive an operating permit. Red Hook’s approach differs from Woodstock, where permits are required but only a limited number are in circulation. At Red Hook, there is currently no limit on the number of permits.

“Anyone who has the right to harvest has the right to apply for a permit,” said Robert McKeon, Supervisor of the Town of Red Hook. “We made it a pretty easy process. They fill out an application, and someone from our construction and zoning department will be there to confirm everything.

But there is one key difference to Red Hook’s regulations: Permits, which will cost homeowners an as yet unspecified fee, will only be granted to homeowners who use their home as their primary residence. This means that they can rent secondary accommodation (ADU), such as a studio or a renovated barn, or their house when they are away.

“We want to be aware that if there is someone operating a short term rental on the block, which we have an obligation to guarantee for the other houses, there is no negative impact. on them, ”McKeon said.

Red Hook also requires that short-term rental properties not exceed four bedrooms in residential areas and eight bedrooms in rural areas.

As noted in local Red Hook law, the use of short-term rentals, such as Airbnbs, as an alternative to traditional accommodation has increased in the area in recent years, allowing more options for tourists and another means of income for property owners. At the same time, critics say such rentals can potentially have a negative impact on the character of the community if there are no limits or endorsements in place.

“We’re trying to enable residents to do this as part of the new shared economy, but we want to do it in a smart way so that it doesn’t have potential negative implications,” McKeon said.

Local law “will address the negative impacts associated with these uses and promote public safety, health and welfare,” according to new Chapter 112 inserted in the City of Red Hook code.

More flexibility for farm stays

If the law is passed as currently proposed, short-term rentals will be permitted throughout the year for up to 30 days at a time in residential areas, which make up 20 percent of the housing stock in the city. town of Red Hook, according to McKeon.

Properties in more rural areas, which make up the remaining 80 percent of the city, will be allowed to serve as short-term rentals for up to 120 days. In either case, the licensed properties must be the owners’ primary residence.

Requiring a primary residence for owners looking to rent out their properties would prevent outside residents from buying a property, turning it into a short-term rental and then leaving the community, McKeon says.

There is an exception to the primary residence rule proposed by Red Hook, which reflects the agricultural nature of the town.

Farmers may seek short-term rentals on or next to the farm without meeting the primary residence requirement, as farm owners most likely live in another structure on or near the farm, which could be within acres of short term rentals. . Farm stays would be allowed to serve as a short-term rental for up to 120 days at a time.

“They already live in a house on the farm, for example, so they can’t have an adjacent house as their primary residence,” McKeon said. “We have farms all over the Hudson Valley where there are barn to apartment conversions. “

Under the city’s current zoning, owners can create commercial inns of up to 10 rooms on a plot in the agricultural business district. This means that the capacity limit of eight rooms is not far from what is already in place in rural districts.

“We do this in a way that both balances opportunities for our residents and protects the interests of those who are neighbors to short-term rentals and does not add additional pressure to housing issues,” McKeon said.

McKeon said he didn’t know how many residents might apply for a permit. In the past, the number of short term rentals in Red Hook has ranged from 28 to almost 100, depending on the season.

“There is a lot of interest in coming and visiting, and we look forward to it,” McKeon said.

City Council has scheduled a public hearing on Nov. 30 at 7:35 p.m. at City Hall regarding the proposed short-term rental by-law.

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