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Wilmington’s vacation rental law

To the editor:

It is disappointing but hardly surprising that the Enterprise took the easier route when it expressed its own disappointment with the town of Wilmington in the lead editorial ( “An underwhelming short-term rental law in Wilmington,” Friday, June 14, 2024).

The editorial criticized the board for not following the recommendations of the short-term rental committee. At nearly every meeting this year the board has explained why it followed a piecemeal approach: it would take too long and there was a sense of urgency. Those who have read the recommendations from the short-term rental committee will know that most of it is a rewrite of the existing law with few changes of substance. The board adopted the recommendation with greatest power and consequence: The cap, which the Enterprise grudgingly commended. The rest of it, frankly, can wait and be reviewed carefully. In the meantime, Wilmington should be congratulated for showing how to work together when a community is divided — compromise, discussion and getting through the harder questions.

The editorial also criticized the so-called vagueness of the exemption mechanism. I wonder whether the Enterprise took the village of Saranac Lake to task when it adopted its exemption because that is where Wilmington got the idea and most of the language.

Finally, the editorial was disturbingly similar to the talking points that have been read out at board meetings this year by the same four people. Many in our town have said that the Enterprise played favorites and gave direct access to its friends. I have always given the Enterprise some benefit of the doubt. This editorial, however, makes it difficult to disagree with that conclusion.

I do know that the Enterprise has never followed up with me, or asked me questions, about what the board was thinking or doing when it reached this compromise. I hope the paper will let me send in some guidance notes for the next editorial. If not, don’t moralize, feign disappointment, or pretend to be objective. The mask has slipped off. Sincerely,

Favor J. Smith

Wilmington town supervisor

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