Rental rule makers need to hear from workers

Regulating short-term rental units in the Lake Placid area has drawn more people to speak up than most issues do. But the community needs to hear from a big bunch of other people who have mostly been represented secondhand.

Those who have spoken up are mostly longtime residents, vacation rental property owners and/or business owners. These are people who, in general, already own houses in the community. They may be concerned about changes to their neighborhoods, their employees’ struggle to find housing nearby or how to pay their taxes. But they are not the ones who can’t find a home here. The issue affects them more indirectly than it affects the person who has to commute an hour to work in Lake Placid, or just has to pass on opportunities here.

These latter people — those whose housing is less secure — are the ones local elected leaders need to hear from most right now, before they pass new rules. How hard is it to find a place to live in Lake Placid these days? Has the conversion of apartments and houses to short-term rentals made it harder? Have you been pushed out? Priced out? What do you think ought to happen? What kind of regulation is a waste of time?

Whether you live in Lake Placid or would like to live here, whether you work here or were unable to make it work, we encourage you to read up on the latest draft of the short-term rental rules. You can find them on the Lake Placid village or North Elba town websites, or find reports about them on the Enterprise website. Then, please attend the public hearing on these rules Tuesday, Feb. 25 at the Conference Center.

We’d also like to have your voice in the Enterprise. You can reach out to our Lake Placid reporter Elizabeth Izzo, at 518-891-2600 extension 23 or eizzo@adirondackdailyenterprise.com, or send a letter to the editor to Managing Editor Peter Crowley at pcrowley@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.

People who work in restaurants and hotels, clothing and outdoor gear shops, supermarkets and drug stores, public works departments and winter sports venues often don’t feel comfortable, empowered or informed enough to show up at public hearings or municipal board meetings. But without them, Lake Placid cannot function. No matter how much money is sloshing around here, without people to work, Lake Placid doesn’t work.

And without input from them, there is a huge risk that these new rules won’t work.