By Joshua Maloni
The Village of Lewiston Board of Trustees expects to vote Tuesday on a new policy regarding short-term rentals.
Following public comments at hearing Jan. 3, Mayor Anne Welch, Trustee Tina Coppins and members of the recently formed short-term rentals committee crafted an eight-page document that outlines rental standards; special permit requirements; license – application; renewal and fees; occupancy; and owner/tenant responsibilities. The policy also includes a short-term rental unit application, and a checklist the owner must sign and attach to the submission.
Click HERE to download the policy (PDF).
In an opening statement, the document reads, “The purpose of this Code is to regulate the Short-Term Rental of dwelling units within the Village of Lewiston, NY and to establish comprehensive registration and licensing regulations to safeguard the public health, safety and welfare by regulating and controlling the use, occupancy, oversight and maintenance of Short-Term Rental properties. The Village seeks to thoroughly monitor and regulate those who offer their homes as Short-Term Rental properties in order to minimize any potential detrimental impact this commercial enterprise may have upon the residential character of predominantly owner-occupied neighborhoods.”
The policy also states, “No person shall operate a Short-Term Rental unit without a current Special Permit and/or License issued pursuant to this Code.”
Board members will consider “a motion to adopt a resolution to amend Appendix C-Schedule of Miscellaneous Fees of the Village Code to read:
“(8) Application fee for Bed & Breakfast, $50
“(9) Application fee for Short Term Rental, $50
“(10) Annual fee for Short Term Rental, $500
“(11) Building Inspection fee for Short Term Rental, $250
“(12) Fire Inspection fee for Short Term Rental, $250”
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, trustees will vote on enacting a temporary moratorium on future short-term rentals.
Click HERE to download the full document.
The motion reads, in part,
“WHEREAS, tourism is an important part of the local economy, including short-term rentals at hotels, and increasingly, in residential neighborhoods; and
“WHEREAS, in recent years, the density and frequency of rentals of less than 30 days, or short-term rentals, in residential neighborhoods has increased, due in large part to the web-based marketing tools such as Airbnb, Vacation Rental by Owner, and the like; and
“WHEREAS, the increase in transient occupancy has had an adverse impact on residential neighborhoods subsequently generating excess noise, traffic and trash; and
“WHEREAS the Village of Lewiston Board of Trustees is in the process of studying the issue in order to make recommendations on the best approach for the Village, including conducting work session(s), other studies, and proposing an ordinance regarding the regulation of short-term rentals.
“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Lewiston, that in order to protect the public health, safety and welfare, it is in the best interest of the Village to declare a temporary moratorium on issuing business licenses on short-term rentals.”
Welch previously told NFP short-term rentals “that are already up and running, they're basically grandfathered in. We're probably going to try to cap it, because people are buying up houses left and right, and we don't want to destroy our neighborhoods.
“We want people to do well that have their bed and breakfasts or Airbnb, short-term rentals. But we just need to get a handle on it.”
The short-term rental committee has identified about 40 short-term rental properties operating within the Village of Lewiston.
Tuesday’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. inside the Red Brick Municipal Building, 145 N. Fourth St.
Changes to Village Law
Trustees expect to hold a public hearing on Monday, Feb. 6, to vote on modifying the municipal code to make relevant changes in keeping with the new short-term rentals policy.
Among the items potentially up for revision:
•Local law #2-2023 to amend Section 7. Definitions of Appendix B of the Village Code to read: #84 delete Tourist Home; add Short Term Rental: a dwelling in which overnight accommodations are provided or offered for transient guests for compensation.
•Local Law #3-2023 to amend Section 11.5. Appendix B of the Village Code to read: Short Term Rental – also referred to Vacation Rental and or Transient Rental, is a non-occupied dwelling unit consisting of a single family residential structure or a dwelling unit in a two-family structure (duplex) that is rented as a whole unit and under a single family booking for a period of less than thirty (30) days.
•Local Law #4-2023 to amend Section 9.B.3.f. to read: Bed & Breakfast residences/Short Term rentals
•Local Law #5-2023 to amend Section 9.C.3.b to read: Short Term Rental
•Local Law #6-2023 to amend Section 9D.3.j. Bed & Breakfast residences/Short Term Rental (delete Tourist Home)
•Local Law #7-2023 to amend Section 9.I.b.4 to read: Bed & Breakfast residences
•Local Law #8-2023 to amend Section J. 3.f.to read: Bed & Breakfast /Short Term Rental establishments when such use is secondary use of the premises.
•Local Law #9-2023 to amend Section 1-7 General penalty; continuing violations to read: