Lake Placid to consider third STR exception

LAKE PLACID — Another person has applied for an exemption from Lake Placid’s active moratorium on issuing new short-term vacation rental permits, and the village board plans to hold a public hearing on the application next week.

Lake Placid residents Andrea and Louis Iakovidis, of ALI Ventures LLC, are applying for a variance to the village’s moratorium for their property at 2177 Saranac Ave.

The village board of trustees in March passed a local law placing a six-month moratorium on issuing new short-term rental permits in the village of Lake Placid — one week after the North Elba Town Council voted to do the same — as the town and village consider changes to their STR regulations. The moratorium would end around the beginning of September.

The local law includes an allowance for variances. People can appeal to the village clerk for an exception to the moratorium if they believe it “would impose practical difficulties or extraordinary hardships” on them, according to the law. A public hearing for variance applications is required under the law before the village can approve an exception, and the village board would need to approve or deny the application within 30 days of the public hearing.

The village board held a public hearing earlier this month for two applications for an exception to the moratorium, though the board hasn’t taken any action to reject or deny those applications yet. The village board thought the public hearings for variance applications were intended for the board to hear from the applicants, not the public, though the board allowed three members of the public at the last hearing.

The state Division of Local Government Services defines a public hearing as “an official proceeding of a governmental body or officer, during which the public is accorded the right to be heard.”

Andrea and Louis’s application states that the moratorium would impose financial hardship on them as they renovate the multi-use building for short-term vacation renting, long-term renting, and a commercial business.

The village board of trustees has scheduled a public hearing for the new application at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, June 6, just before the board’s regular board meeting at 5 p.m.

The application

Andrea wrote in her application that she and her brother, Louis, grew up in Lake Placid. They helped their parents out with hospitality businesses over the years, she wrote, and when their parents retired last year, the siblings saw an opportunity to start their own business and become more involved in the village.

Andrea and Louis formed ALI Ventures this past September, according to the application. That same month, they purchased the Saranac Avenue property, a mixed-use property in the gateway corridor. They are renovating the building to use as a body art studio, with one apartment for long-term rental use, one “owner’s suite” apartment for Andrea and two apartments to use as STRs. Both of the STR units are currently undergoing renovations, and the long-term apartment already has a tenant, according to the application. The commercial space is expected to undergo renovations this summer with completion slated for November, and renovations of the owner’s suite are expected to be done by later summer or early fall.

The renovations are “extensive,” according to the application, and Andrea wrote that some of the necessary repairs weren’t made known to the siblings upon purchasing the property. Those surprises made the project more expensive than expected — the application states that repair costs doubled from $100,000 after the siblings discovered fire damage that left three of the four apartments “uninhabitable.”

“We discovered undisclosed structural fire damage post purchase and have had to undergo an eviction process, which has taken twice as long as expected,” Andrea wrote. “The only way for us to recover financially and complete the necessary work is by utilizing two of the units as short-term rentals.”

Andrea wrote that the moratorium would cause financial hardship for her and her brother because they’re applying for loans to make the necessary repairs. Lenders are hesitant to commit to loaning money with the moratorium in place, Andrea wrote, knowing that the loan would largely be repaid by revenue generated from the STR units.

The two STR units could be ready as soon as the end of June, according to the variance application.


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