Story by Lourice Angie
The Greenwood Lake Village Board held a public hearing on Tues., Feb. 20 prior to the regular meeting to address the newly proposed short term Airbnb draft law. Town of Warwick Councilman Floyd DeAngelo was also in attendance at the meeting.
At the public hearing, G.L Mayor Jesse Dwyer announced that for nearly a year the Board has held extensive meetings on Airbnb short term rental operations in the Village. Dwyer expressed his appreciation for all of the participation and feedback from the public, whether through correspondence or their attendance at the monthly meetings.
The Board has already received comment from the G.L. Planning Board, the Orange County Planning Department and the Warwick Town Board, but has not yet received comment from the ZBA (Zoning Board of Appeals).
“We have to, by law, give the Zoning Board and all other boards of the Village a maximum of 62 days to give full comment. We hoped that we would receive full comment by now, but we’re not going to rush the process, that has never been our intention. We will keep the public meeting open until the next meeting on Mon., Mar. 19, at which time the Village Board will choose to close the public hearing and vote, or keep it open,” said Dwyer.
It has already been determined that short term residential rental activities constitute a business. The use of single and multi-family dwelling units for vacation rentals or lodging purposes provides visitors with an alternative to standard lodging. However, such uses in residential neighborhoods may present negative effects on the character and stability of the neighborhood.
The draft law is enacted pursuant to Municipal Home Rule Law 10. The purpose is to establish regulations for the use of short term rentals in order to protect the public health, safety and general welfare of the people of the Village and to further achieve the following beneficial purposes: protection of the character and stability of residential areas and the correction and prevention of housing conditions that adversely affect or are likely to adversely affect the life, safety, general welfare, and health, including the physical, mental and social well being of persons occupying dwellings, and the preservation of the value of the land and buildings throughout the Village.
“I believe our law will address a lot of people’s concerns who are against Airbnb. It will essentially guarantee that they will become more friendly neighbors. The biggest concern that we have found with those who object to Airbnb rentals is that they are bringing in excessive parking, noise and uncomfortable situations for neighbors. So what our law does is creates a situation where the Village Board can revoke one’s ability to operate an Airbnb if they continue to operate under those circumstances,” said Mayor Dwyer.
Town Councilman Floyd DeAngelo shared his perspective on the matter saying, “As a member of the Zoning Board, I think the law covers all of the issues it has to cover. From the standpoint of a Councilman, I think the Town Board would do well adopting a similar law, and as a citizen of the Village of Greenwood Lake, I think it’s a good idea and it’s absolutely necessary.”
Robin, a G.L. resident who operates a short term rental said, “I think you’re being very fair about everything.”
No further comments were made from the public. The four proposed fees discussed were: Initial registration fee (includes initial inspection and filing paperwork) of $150 and an annual inspection fee of $50. During the annual inspection the building inspector will look into the history of the rental and check for violations to determine if the permit should be renewed.
If the permit is suspended or revoked for more than one year, the renter will have to begin the registration process over again. Failure to register an Airbnb or short term rental in the Village can be a fine of up to $1,000 per day. Penalties will be severe because it is difficult for the Village to determine all of the short term rental operations. Failure to re-inspect or renew the permit fee is a fine of up to $200 a day if in violation. To review the draft law and the proposed fees visit: www.villageofgreenwoodlake.org.
Armed Security in Schools
The Board unanimously supports the idea of armed security in local schools. With the recent tragedies that have taken place in schools throughout the country, the safety of children and schools is a priority. Mayor Dwyer said that the board will be sending letters to all three school boards to inform them that the Village of Greenwood Lake fully supports the suggestion.
New Municipal Well
There has been a lot of positive feedback and news regarding the new well but Mayor Dwyer said that it is still an active situation so the Board does not want to rush a decision. The well that is currently being worked on is located between the G.L. Bark Park and the basketball courts. Mayor Dwyer said it has been the most positive looking composition as of yet, but they will continue to do more probes and work in order to provide additional information.
The Village did some comprehensive testing on an old caisson well by Victory Acres. Use of the well was discontinued a while back because traces of mercury were found. It was recently determined through comprehensive testing that the well is entirely safe.
“We’re going to work on getting that well back in line. It wouldn’t produce enough water to be our primary well source, but it would serve as an excellent back up to our system,” said Mayor Dwyer.
2018 Lake Management
After researching the permits for the west arm channel of the lake, Mayor Dwyer found that the permits expired last year. The Village has renewed the permits through the D.E.C. and is currently awaiting the final approval. Once the Board receives the approval, a bid will go out for the west arm channel sediment removal project.
Mayor Dwyer announced that he and Trustee Thomas Howley will meet with G.L. Police Chief John Hansen to discuss one of the major components of the Village budget, which is the police budget. The tentative budget is expected to be available by Tues., Mar. 20. The budget meetings will be scheduled for sometime in March and April.
Employees & Employment in the Village
This past month three of the G.L. Village dispatchers resigned to pursue their careers in law enforcement. The Village wants to make the public aware that they are constantly hiring part time dispatchers.
“It is a great opportunity. You meet great people, learn valuable lessons and gain good experience if you’re the right person for the job,” said Mayor Dwyer.
Emergency Alert System
During the public workshop Mayor Dwyer mentioned to the Board that he feels the current emergency alert system for the Village of Greenwood Lake is not as robust or equipped with the necessary tools. The Board has authorized the Mayor to seek out a new system that would stay within the costs of the current system but would provide the names, email addresses, landline numbers, cell phones, and locations of all residents.
The Village is initially required to send out notifications that will allow residents to opt out if desired. Mayor Dwyer said this new system will enable the Village to send out notifications to a specific neighborhood when needed, without notifying the entire Village. He anticipates having a contract for a new notification system by the next Board meeting.
Village Owned Fire House
The Board is committed to converting the old firehouse, located on Waterstone Rd., into a youth and community center. The Board feels it is in the best interest of the community and youth.
“Although we’ll be losing some revenue from our fire department building we see it as a great investment in the future of our community,” said Dwyer.
The process won’t begin until the fire department moves to the new firehouse location in April. Some maintenance will be needed before they can open, but it will be a great process.
Greenwood Lake Winter Classic
Mayor Dwyer announced that the proceeds of the Inaugural G.L. Winter Classic, held on Sat., Feb 3, were graciously donated to the Greenwood Lake Coalition.
“A total of $2,500 was donated, a very generous amount. I want to thank the leaders of the G.L. Winter Classic, Mark Palmieri, the owner of the Helm and Joe Romano, of West Milford, a good guy who is very serious about hockey,” said Dwyer.
2018 County Fire Parade
The 2018 County Fire Parade will be held on Sat., Sept. 22 at 2 p.m. in the Village of Greenwood Lake.
“This is going to be a massive operation – an enormous parade. It’s going to be awesome,” said Mayor Dwyer. “If you want to see fire trucks, this is the place to be. Every fire district and fire company in all of Orange County will be there. If traffic is not your thing, traffic will probably be a nightmare that day so be warned. But it’s only once every 10 to 20 years so we certainly support in any way we can,” Dwyer concluded.
Next Board Meeting
The next meeting of the G.L. Village Board will be held on Mon., Mar. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Village Courthouse, located at 47 Waterstone Rd. A workshop will be held at 6 p.m. that evening and at 7 p.m. there will be a public hearing to discuss Airbnb short term rentals.