Placid has to embrace being a resort town
To the editor:
The answer to the short-term rental debate is simple: Zone the main arteries such as Sentinel, Main, Saranac Avenue or anywhere within eyesight or earshot of an existing business as vacation rental friendly. Zone obvious neighborhoods illegal. Many towns have successfully done this; Lake Placid doesn’t have the economy size to completely outlaw short-term rentals while staying salient in today’s tourist market. You’re no New Orleans.
I live in Park City, Utah, full time, but I maintain a home in Lake Placid that’s been in my family for over 20 years. We converted a dilapidated house that should have been condemned into one of Lake Placid’s top rentals. We bring outside money into town, which helps Lake Placid in countless ways.
From living in the highly successful tourist town of Park City, I can tell you that Lake Placid needs to embrace the Airbnb model of travel. Most families now only travel this way. We want several rooms for our children and a kitchen to cook healthy food. Hotels don’t provide this, and any government that doesn’t understand these changing times is ripe to lose the tourist’s dollar. Families and groups don’t want the “motel model” of tourism, just like we got sick of our old flip-phone once better options existed. We in Park City embrace the short-term rental market because we want our town to stay competitive. We don’t have the economy of a city to survive without a robust tourist influx. Neither does Lake Placid.
Living in a mountain town — be it Lake Placid, Vail or Truckee — is a special privilege. Mountain towns are beautiful areas with great recreation that millions of tourists one day hope to visit. Lake Placid is one of these special places.
As for real estate prices, I challenge you to find another mountain town such as beautiful Lake Placid where you can still buy a house for $300,000. Wages are not much higher here in Park City, and in fact, my industry actually pays less. Our average house price is now hovering at a million dollars. This price tag is, of course, ridiculous, but I point it out to show that Lake Placid is relatively affordable. This is an apples-to-apples comparison. Lake Placid is more like Park City than it is like AuSable Forks, and likewise there’s a price to pay for beauty and lifestyle.
I sincerely hope Lake Placid can find a compromise to please the locals, maintain a strong tourist economy and preserve that special sliver of the Adirondacks like I remember it from childhood.
Park City, Utah