The Taghkanic Town Board sent its latest rewrite of the STR proposed regulations to the town's land-use lawyer, Rob Fitzsimmons, in early December. Below, you'll find links to the Board's re-write, and Mr. Fitzsimmons' response.
In addition to the suggested edits, Mr. Fitsimmons noted the following:
His edits add the term "habitable” space, to make clear that only dwellings that meet NYS code for habitability can be used for STRs, to avoid the use of barns, campers, yurts, tents, etc.
His comments in the document as to time limits or numbers reference the difficulty, (which the STR Committee had been made aware of), of proving when an owner violates the law. How would our Code Enforcement Officer prove if an owner occupied the residence for X days? How would an owner prove it is the “residence”? They may have 2 or 3 residences under NYS law, election law, or other laws. These are all different. Understanding that the Board wants the owner to affirm or represent their occupancy and residency, Mr. Fitzsimmons points out that when a STR operator is not truthful – meaning we find them operating a STR with no permit – it is then up to the town to prove these dates, times and numbers as a criminal violation, beyond a reasonable doubt. He suggests that is better to set general “rules” and apply them in an enforceable manner.
With regard to the draft's inclusion of "sunset" provisions, he says this seems to enact a whole different level of use, a temporary use, and suggests that instead, the Town just enact the regulations and give a reasonable time for all STR’s, new or old, to come into compliance. Maybe 3 months, or 6 months. Then there are not two or three standards to try an apply. This is similar to building code changes: after X date, owners have to be in compliance.