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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Woodstock stepping up enforcement of rules regarding short-term house rentals

Story about short-term rentals in the Town of Woodstock in the Daily Freeman.

The town plans to strictly enforce the local zoning code that equates Airbnb-type rentals to bed-and-breakfast businesses. Supervisor Bill McKenna said after a Town Board meeting Tuesday night that stepped-up enforcement is a response to complaints from neighbors of short-term rental sites. In the summertime, we were getting a couple calls a week,” he said. The Woodstock Town Board has been fielding complaints for about two years about disruptive short-term renters, but McKenna said most renters are respectful of neighbors.

“There’s probably ... 800 Airbnbs in Woodstock,” McKenna said. “The problem is there’s a couple of these big party houses, and ... if you live next to one, you’re miserable. A horde of people show up on a Friday night and start to party, and the party rolls through until they leave on Sunday.” Similar complaints have been lodged with officials in the nearby town of Shandaken.

Woodstock has a law that requires rentals lasting less than a week to have the same permits required of B&Bs and to operate only on owner-occupied properties.

"Our zoning law allows for bed-and-breakfasts anywhere in town,” McKenna said. But “they need to have an operating permit, which you can get from the building inspector’s office, and they need to be inspected by the fire inspector.”

McKenna said any short-term rental that does not have an on-site owner is considered a motel or a hotel, subject to geographic restrictions and separate approvals.

“Where they are permitted, they need to go through site plan review of the Planning Board,” he said.

McKenna said long-term house rentals, such as those lasting all summer, are not restricted by the town’s zoning code.

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