Lake Placid extends STR moratorium
More discussions on new law, vote pushed to 2023
LAKE PLACID — The Lake Placid Village Board of Trustees has extended its moratorium on short-term vacation rental permits for a second time.
The village board in September extended its six-month STR moratorium — which started in March — through to the end of 2022. On Monday, the village unanimously voted to further extend its moratorium through Jan. 31, 2023. The moratorium extension only applies to residential districts in the village.
The village extended its moratorium again because the town and village boards made significant changes to their proposed STR law after their first public hearing on the law in November. Because of the changes, the boards were required to hold a second public hearing, which they did this past Friday — but on Monday, the village board announced that that second public hearing on the proposed law was invalid because the village board didn’t have a quorum of members present in person at the hearing.
The legal hiccup has pushed the STR law-filing process into 2023, with the boards tentatively scheduling a third hearing on the proposed regulations — and possibly a vote — on Jan. 3, 2023.
The moratorium extension was intended to be a safeguard for the village board as it moves through the legal processes required to pass and file a new law regulating STRs, according to village Mayor Art Devlin.
When Devlin asked village Attorney Janet Bliss on Monday if she thought the new Jan. 31 moratorium extension would give the village board enough time to file a new STR law, she said she didn’t know. Town and village boards want to file their new STR law with the state before their moratoriums end.
The village board held a public hearing on this latest moratorium extension before its regular board meeting Monday night. While four people attended the meeting in person and virtually, only one person — Lake Placid resident and business owner Angela Hawley — spoke during the hearing.
Hawley asked the village board not to include hosted STRs in the moratorium extension. She said she recently bought a home on Acorn Street, and she’s waiting to apply for a hosted STR permit for a rental unit on the property. She said the home was sold to her as an investment property, and it was an STR before she bought it.
When the village board extended its moratorium in September, the extension only applied to residential neighborhoods because that’s where the village was proposing to make the most significant changes. But because the board didn’t want to change STR regulations significantly in more commercial districts, they reopened STR permitting to people in the Gateway Corridor, Village Center, and Main Street Corridor districts in September.
While the village board discussed the potential effects of opening up hosted STR permitting again in residential areas, the board ultimately passed the moratorium as proposed. Trustee Jackie Kelly thought that reopening permitting to hosted rentals but not hosted rentals could be confusing for people. Bliss said that changing the terms of the moratorium extension would have required another public hearing, too.
The board also discussed its proposed STR law at Monday’s meeting, specifically focusing on the proposed number of STR units allowed per property. The village and town are proposing to allow only one STR unit per property, but the village is making exceptions in the Gateway Corridor, the Village Center and the Main Street Corridor districts, where there could be two short-term rentals for every one long-term rental at properties with three or more units.
Kelly, who started the discussion, said there are a couple of projects in the works on Main Street whose success could be hampered by the new rule, and she didn’t want to see those buildings sit empty. A brief discussion among board members showed village trustees to be split on their opinion of the ratio rule — with trustees Peter Holderied and Katie Brennan saying the board should stick with it and trustees Marc Galvin and Kelly saying they wanted to drop the ratio rule.
“You have to be careful not to zone for a particular project,” Bliss added.
Hawley, who has STRs in the corridors proposed for the ratio rule, noted that she’d like the ratio proposal to be dropped. She said that she “won’t do” long-term renting after a bad experience with a long-term tenant.
“We lost a building in 2015 because of a long-term tenant,” she said.
The former, nearly century-old Fortunes of Time building on Main Street, owned by Hawley’s family, burned in 2015, destroying seven apartments and a retail space. Mary Anne Hawley said in 2016 that fire investigators narrowed down the cause of the fire to an off-brand laptop charger in one of the apartments.
Kelly ultimately dropped the idea of changing the ratio rule; she thought it was more important to move forward with the proposed STR law as-is.