Town of Webb Proposes Short-Term Residential Tenancy Law

Webb City Council held a public hearing on Thursday, May 20, regarding the creation of proposed local law that would regulate short-term residential rentals in the town of Webb.

The meeting, held at the McCauley Mountain Chalet, 300 McCauley Road, (and also aired on Zoom) provided an opportunity for all interested stakeholders to voice their concerns and the Board of Directors to take whatever was necessary for the proposed law.

Each interested speaker had three minutes to express their concerns.

A board representative acknowledged the benefits of short-term rentals for the Adirondack community, especially since websites such as Airbnb, VRBO, and Adirondack By Owner have made it more accessible, but said tighter regulation may be needed.

“The city recognizes the economic benefits of short-term rentals,” said city supervisor David Berkstresser. “However, the city also recognizes the potential negative effects of the neighborhood’s character and the general well-being, health and safety of the city. These provisions governing the use of short-term rentals aim to strike a balance. City Council believes that this balance is in the best interest of our community as a whole.

One of the main concerns that sparked this proposal was dangerous and disruptive fireworks. Another concern was noise.

Catherine Thomas, owner of a rental property, pointed out that there is no noise ordinance in the town of Webb.

The proposed law change to the city of Webb’s code includes a permit requirement, a cap on weekly visitor turnover, and more.

Lorraine Murwin, owner of Awesome Country in Boonville, owns several rental properties in Old Forge. She spoke out against the proposed legislative changes. She pointed out that rental sites like Airbnb have a review system that already holds owners accountable. She also inquired about the consequences for those who had set this course in motion.

“I would like to know if there is a list of offenders who rushed this action,” she said. “If there are any, I would like to know why they are not being targeted for (legal) actions, as most of the people I know are very good hosts and advocates for Airbnb and this community.”

She suggested that any permit fees collected from landowners be used to hire more police officers for the city.

“Isn’t it better managed by finding a way to hire more law enforcement?” ” she said. “Maybe a separate seasonal agent to handle this stuff.”

A second public hearing is scheduled for June 10.

The passage of this legislation is authorized by the New York Municipal Home Rule Law. Before the adoption or modification of local laws, a public hearing is required.

The Town of Webb Board of Directors is made up of five members, including Supervisor David Berkstresser; Barbara Green, city councilor; Kurt Gardner, city councilor; Michael Ross, city councilor; and Donald Haehl, city councilor.

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