Southold Town accepts short term rentals in commercial areas

SOUTHOLD, NY – City Council voted on Tuesday to amend Southold’s transitional tenancy code to allow short-term rentals in commercial properties, including areas set aside for residential offices, hamlet businesses and the general commercial use.

A public hearing into the matter was held after a need arose for additional accommodation options for tourists, visitors and residents of Southold, officials said.

“The transient tenancy code change simply excludes commercial areas from the short-term tenancy ban,” Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said.

Southold Town Council voted 4 to 1 on 25 August 2015 to pass the short term rental legislation.

The vote came after months of heated debate and lengthy public hearings, as residents stood on the podium and pleaded with the city council to protect their quality of life. Others, second home owners who have rented out their homes on sites such as airbnb, said income was critical to their ability to one day move into their residence full-time; short-term tenants said the guests have provided an influx of business to Southold and have been a proven boon to the economy.

The city council, however, argued that commercial efforts should not take place in residential communities and also felt that the short-term rental industry could prove disastrous for an already dwindling housing stock throughout the year. year in Southold Town.

This week, Russell recalled that when the council originally passed a code banning short-term rentals, it was based on the belief that rentals were commercial businesses operating in residential areas.

“The code we adopted had such broad language that it was inadvertently extended to commercial areas,” Russell said. “We are simply seeking to correct the language to allow transitional rentals in commercial areas. This law does not promote or expand the potential of hotels. Rather, it restores the historic uses of buildings in commercial areas.”

At Tuesday’s hearing, Southold estate broker Tom McCarthy said the rental permits served a good purpose, ensuring the health and safety of residents was protected.

But he applauded the code change, saying that as change happens in the community, “small family businesses are being bought out – it’s a capitalist company – by bigger companies that aren’t necessarily based here. “. He referenced plans for hotels and other hospitality purchases that have recently made headlines in the North Fork.

“This change to the short-term rental code will allow some of the dollars to stay locally,” McCarthy said. “Temporary rentals will always be part of our community, whether legally or illegally, with some people not necessarily being compliant.”

Russell agreed that enforcing the city’s short-term rental code has been harder than expected.

McCarthy added that the change will meet the need of people visiting the city who don’t have two weeks to spend and who can’t afford the “ever-increasing cost of hotels and motels – and who don’t necessarily want to stay in Head of river.” He added that locating them in downtown areas where there is foot traffic will bring tourist dollars to the hamlets, while finding a purpose for the underutilized spaces in those areas.

Councilor Bob Ghosio, at his last city council meeting, said that when the original legislation was passed, the council said it was taking a ‘broad’ approach and would make changes over time . “It’s one of those steps,” he said.

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