By Lourice Angie
The Greenwood Lake Village Board held their general monthly meeting on Mon., Sept. 18 at which they addressed the growing concerns of Airbnb and short term residential rentals operating throughout Greenwood Lake. In addition to discussing old business, the Board held a public hearing on revised procurement policy changes and the G.L. Commission presented their annual report and financial accounting information to the board.
At last month’s Board meeting, G.L. Mayor Jesse Dwyer announced that an extensive study was being conducted throughout the month by Village attorney John Buckheit pertaining to Airbnb and short term rentals in Greenwood Lake. The study focuses on identifying all of the pros and cons of these operations, reviewing other municipalities and collecting as much data as possible before the Board determines how to address the next phase. Many G.L residents and some business owners were present at the meeting seeking additional information and answers.
Mayor Dwyer opened the floor up to the public at the conclusion of the meeting and everyone had an opportunity to voice their opinions and ask questions. Lisa Mulcahy, the manager of the family operated Waterstone Inn and a resident for over 35 years, believes that allowing Airbnb rentals to operate instead of supporting the existing hotels and inns throughout the Village will hurt business owners. In addition she would like to see these Airbnb rentals regulated with the same requirements that her business is expected to abide by, citing as examples the max occupancy for events and the two people maximum per room.
Greenwood Lake resident Don Distel expressed safety concerns to the Board saying, “There are different people and many cars in and out of the house next door to his every weekend.” Warwick Town Councilman Floyd DeAngelo also chimed in on the conversation saying, “This is a residential community. My home is my sanctuary. I wouldn’t want to live next door to an Airbnb that was not supervised.”
Dwyer pointed out some pros of Airbnb -short term rentals – which could increase the number of available rental units to meet the flexible demand. Airbnbs can help promote tourism in G.L. They provide a greater diversity of available rental unit types and locations and provide an additional revenue stream for homeowners. This in turn will provide investment opportunities and renovations to certain properties. Finally, Airbnb provides additional marketing for the community.
The Mayor also pointed out challenges and some of the cons that can be associated with short term residential rentals. They increase the demand for Village services and resources and typically bring greater noise, congestion for parking and increased septic usage. They also generate greater garbage use. If unregulated, Airbnbs allow for tax evasion. In addition, they present safety concerns for consumers when they remain uninspected by a qualified safety inspector.
Suggestions were made by the both the public and the Board to have these short term rentals supervised by the homeowner.
G.L. Trustee Chad Sellier suggested having short term residential rentals registered so the public is more aware of the operations and their locations. Dwyer describes the situation as being a catch 22. Whether or not they decide to identify and allow Airbnb short term rentals to operate or not, he is concerned they will continue to do so anyway. The difficulty lies in identifying all of the locations and operations.
Seeking Help from the Public
Both Dwyer and attorney Buckheit are asking for help from the public on this matter. If anyone knows of a resident operating an Airbnb or short term residential rental, call the Village at 977-9215 and report it. The Board assures that the caller will remain anonymous. Without the help of the public it will be very difficult to identify any, yet all locations.
For the reasons mentioned above, the Village Board anticipates that Airbnb short-term residential rental operations will be required to obtain a permit. The following are the proposed details of the permit and application requirements for Airbnb short term rentals (in addition to long term residential rental code requirements) in Greenwood Lake:
- Applicant must be an “actual person” with an ownership interest in the subject real property.
- Inspections will be performed annually by the designated Village Code Enforcement Officer.
- Subject property must have a valid Certificate of Occupancy.
- Subject property shall be clear of any outstanding code violations.
- Subject property must be insured with liability limits of not less than 1 million/2 million aggregate.
- The septic system at the subject property must meet current code.
- Septic at subject property must have been pumped and inspected within 12 months preceding the application.
- Septic must be pumped within 12 months preceding each year’s renewal.
- Permit for short term residential rental must be renewed every 12 months.
- Subject property will be required to maintain working illuminated exit signs above at least the main entrance and the main exit of the subject property.
- Parking spaces will be designated by the building inspector on a case by case basis.
- Garbage will not be permitted curbside until 5 p.m. the preceding night prior to scheduled refuse pickup.
- Permits are a privilege and not an entitlement and are subject to review and suspension by the Village Board.
In reference to fees the initial application fee is from $500 to $1,000 and the renewal fee is from $250 to $500. Renting without a proper permit is up to $250 per day (“Disorderly Person Offense”).
A mailing to notify all residents of the new law shall be completed by Jan. 1. Approved permits will be required for the June 1, 2018 through May 31, 2019 and must be approved no later than May 31, 2018 to operate after June 1, 2018. The applicant should allow up to 30 days for processing.
The Board still has a lot to review and Dwyer says he is not sure what direction to go with this matter as of yet. He offered his assurance that the Board will make the right decision and it will be one that is most beneficial to the community. The Board will compile all of the information collected and consider the suggestions and concerns voiced by the public. The topic will be on next month’s meeting agenda, allowing for further discussion. Ultimately the matter will be subject to a public hearing before any changes are adopted by the Board.
Windermere Ave. Sidewalks
Mayor Dwyer announced that the Windermere Ave. sidewalk project was put on hold at last month’s Board meeting. Additional state reviews and changes are needed in order to proceed. The project is anticipated to resume within the next few weeks. Dwyer says as soon as he receives a definitive timeline he will notify business owners and residents and it will be posted on the Village website and Facebook page.
Van Orden Water Main
The Mayor announced that all internal conflicts related to the Van Order water main project have been resolved. After conducting a final re-inspection of the project site, the work is now completed and everyone has good water pressure and quality water says Dwyer.
Gateway Park & Boat Launch
The Gateway Park and Boat Launch project is now fully operational and complete. Dwyer said the Village, in partnership with the Town of Warwick, the Orange County Industrial Development Agency, the County Office, and all of the partners who volunteered by donating services, and items will assemble for a grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony on Wed., Sept. 27 at 12 noon at the park.
Dwyer invites the community to attend and he encourages people to bring kayaks or paddleboards to show what the park is all about.
“It’s a fantastic point of entry into the Greenwood Lake community with a nice public park and beautiful lawn. The public boat launch is no cost to anyone wanting to use it,” said Dwyer.
Waterstone Rd. Sidewalks
Bid specifications for the Waterstone Rd. sidewalk project will be available at the Village Hall within a week. The project is anticipated to exceed the Village procurement policy, so the Mayor says there will be sealed bids for the project and all necessary documents will be ready for contractors to pick up. The projected sidewalk will connect the Waterstone gazebo to the Bristol Bridge.
Wetland Handicap Walkway
The wetland handicap walkway projet is moving along as expected and bid specifications will be available next week at the Village Hall for local contractors. This will be a sealed bid process and is covered by County and State grants.
Village Wide Paving
Mayor Dwyer announced that roads have been paved outside of Wah-ta-Wah Park. The roads in Wah-ta-Wah Park are expected to be paved entirely with the exception of a portion of Second Rd., which was paved recently. The paving costs are fully covered by Orange and Rockland. All roads will be paved with asphalt rather than the old method of “tar and chips.” The life expectancy is far greater, it looks better, it is safer to drive on, and it handles better during snow plowing. The Village is anticipating additional funding from the State and CHIPS and would like to see those funds invested effectively within the community. The following streets have been paved in asphalt this year: Poplar, Woodbine, Woodlands, and Lakewood.
The G.L. Procurement Policy regulates the way the Village purchases products and services through contracts. Mayor Dwyer explained the two different methods of procurement in order to clarify what each NYS procurement policy contract requires.
There is a purchase contract and a public works contract – each has different methods of implementation. Through an audit conducted by the Office of the Comptroller, it was determined that the Village procurement policy was too strict on purchasing guidelines. The Comptroller’s Office recommended that the Village allow more flexibility.
Mayor Dwyer explained these two different methods in order to give a better understanding of what the NYS procurement policy contracts require.
2 verbal quotes $1,000-$4,999
3 written quotes $5,000-$9,999
Written Request for
Proposal (RFP) $10,000-$19,999
Sealed bids $20,000+
Public Works Contract
2 verbal quotes Not required
3 written quotes $5,000-$19,999
Written Request for
Proposal (RFP) $20,000-$34,999
Sealed bids $35,000+
* Any purchase under $1,000 does not require a quote.
New Police Employment & G.L. Commission Presentation
It was announced at the meeting that the Village has hired two new employees to the G.L. Police Department: part time dispatcher Alexa Slavkorsky and part time police officer Smedley.
Dale Van Nimwegan, the treasurer of the Greenwood Lake Commission and Floyd DeAngelo, the NY Chairman and O.C. NY Representative, gave a presentation on the work of the Commission. Nimwegan distributed education packets filled with information on the role of the Commission in the community. Future initiatives include: using fertilizers responsibly, reasons why not to feed waterfowl, aquatic and invasive species, the 2016-2017 G.L. drawdown, and the 2016 annual report.
Significant progress was made in 2016 in numerous areas. Improvements have been made and set for the lake and lake area in 2017 and beyond. The Commission focused their efforts in the following three key areas:
- The Commission established and reinforced partnerships with local, county and state organizations and institutes of higher education to advance the lake watershed knowledge.
- The Commission implemented projects that enhanced water quality, improved lake safety, and developed and identified additional projects that, if implemented, will make a substantial positive impact on the lake environment.
- The Commission commenced a focused effort to ensure successful funding of Commission Lake initiatives moving forward.
The next Village Board meeting will be held on Mon., Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Courthouse, located at 47 Waterstone Rd. in Greenwood Lake.