By: Keith S. Shikowitz

The idea of an Airbnb has been around since 2007. This is a way for people who need short term rentals in a locale where staying at a hotel might get very expensive, to find a place to stay for a while. In the midst of this pandemic and the Ginsberg Development Companies building new housing and other facilities on the river in the Village of Haverstraw, the Village Board along with Village Attorney Jay Hood Jr. decided it was time to codify the operation of this type of business in the Village.

The purpose of the local law Chapter 182 called “Short Term Rentals” is that the Village Board of the Village of Haverstraw recognizes that the short term rental of dwelling units constitutes a business which impacts upon the public health, safety and general welfare of the people of the Village of Haverstraw. The intent of this chapter is to create a registry to the offering for short term rentals of dwelling units in one and two-family residential buildings, so as to facilitate the enforcement of New York Building and Fire Codes as well as the Village Code of Haverstraw in order to protect the public health, safety and welfare of the people of the Village of Haverstraw and to achieve the following beneficial purposes:

The protection of the character and stability of residential areas. The correction and prevention of housing conditions/violations that adversely affect or are likely to adversely affect the life, safety, general welfare and health, including the physical, mental and social well-being of persons occupying dwellings; and

the preservation of the value of land and buildings throughout the Village of Haverstraw.

Hood explained what the provisions of the law are. One of the provisions is that anyone who plans to run an Airbnb MUST register for a permit to conduct this business. The fee for the initial permit will be $150 with an annual renewal fee of $100.

All landlords and resident agents must register and obtain a short-term rental permit from the Village of Haverstraw within 30 days of the effective date of this article and/or before any housing or dwelling unit is utilized as a short-term rental property. Initial registration will begin within 30 days after this article becomes effective. Section 2 states that this local law shall take effect immediately upon filing with the Secretary of State of the State of New York.

According to Mayor Mike Kohut, even after the filing, it could take 30 days for notification form the state of the filing. He is figuring that the law should take effect no later than April 30.

Parking in the Village is a major problem, especially in the winter when overnight street parking is not allowed. This problem was addressed in the law to make sure the limited parking for residents is not take up by people staying for a limited time.

Parking. All vehicles attributable to short term rentals shall be parked on-site in parking spaces provided for such purposes when the vehicles are not in use. Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be deemed to be in violation of the Article.

Hood explained what the law was about. “The proposal is going add chapter 182 to our Village Code under the name of Short – Term Rentals. This will take control of Airbnb which many municipalities are having now. There’s going to have to be a registration first of all for them to be allowed to do it. This way the village knows who’s doing it and in what neighborhoods. Also if there’s an problems, there can be fines, like noise and things like that and we know who to fine.”

There’s certain other regulations. The law puts limitations on the amount of time. A person can only rent for 90 days out of a calendar year with no one more than 30 days in a row. “There’s a lot of different things to take control of the situations. We’ll have to set fines for violations of this act will be significant because the initial fine could be $3500 and not exceeding $5000. These are serious fines because as we all know, if you have a bad renter, whether short term or long term, it can really ruin a neighborhood. I think this is an important legislation to pass to make sure these issues don’t crop up in the future.” Hood concluded.

When Hood was finished it was the turn of Andrew Maniglia representing GDC (Ginsburg Development Companies) to present their latest changes to the development site at Admiral’s Cove.

“You recall we were here about 2 weeks ago. We took some of your comments to heart. We passed them on to Martin Ginsburg. Most notably, and Zack will go over all of the changes that we made to the site plan. But it includes the different location for the restaurant.”

With regards to the restaurant on the site Deputy Mayor Emily Dominguez asked, “Did it go into the river?”

Maniglia responded that it didn’t go into the river. It still is existing there and it has a better location. “What we’re seeking this evening is a review that would refer this site plan to the planning board so a more in depth review can begin in time for next week’s planning board meeting. I am grateful for some of the points that you made. It helped us focus on the design and the way that you may like it as well.”

He turned over the presentation over to Zack Szabo who went over changes to site plan and explained what changes were made to plan since last meeting and why. Kohut and the board accepted their explanations and recommendations.

Kohut returned to the agenda beginning with reports from Village officials.

Hood asked for permission to sign a settlement agreement with Haverstraw Place when it comes in because when they got off of the PILOT program it went non – profit they became due a refund of $55,025.55. “No one is happy about that because the new people coming in said they were going to do something for us and now they’re not. We’re going to pay it over three years, which his good news so it doesn’t hurt as much. That’s how the settlement is going to read when it comes in so if you can authorize me to sign hat when it comes.”

The board gave its approval and with nothing new from the treasurer’s report, Kohut began his Mayor’s report. “The 2021 Farmer’s market is going to be handled by three of our staff members and the board is proposing to compensate them at a sum of $1500 a piece for the 2021 season.”

Kohut had two items that dealt with the fire department. First was a proposal from Big Shine energy for the LED retrofitting at the main fire house at 25 Fairmont Ave. at a cost after state incentives of $11,703.89. The second was a proposal from Goosetown Communications for a five year lease of portable radios for the Haverstraw FD annual cost of $8400 for a 5 year contract equaling $43,000. Both proposals were approved.

After reporting the current budget adjustments, the meeting moved on to the reports of the standing committees.

Trustee Rafael Bueno gave the Fire and Ordinances report for the month of February 2021.

The fire department answered a total of twenty alarms, this included, five gas leaks, three electrical fires one cooking fire and one false alarm.

Kohut interjected a reminder to the board that next Wednesday (March 10) the graduation of the first Haverstraw Fire department training class will take place over at the community center at 7:00 pm.

Deputy Mayor Dominguez reported on the Public Works Building and Grounds activities.

The DPW repaired the plow blades on trucks 14, 15, 17, 18 from and continued cleanup from storms on Feb 18, 19 & 22.

“We picked up food from community center for the food pantry, completed spackling and painting for the upstairs walls of the new DPW and began move from current DPW garage to the new DPW garage. Repairs continued on trucks 3, 9, 12 installed new transmission on truck 14.”

Trustee Carlevarro reported that the Youth and family services strengthening families program which he mentioned at the last meeting has changed its start date from March 3 to March 10. “The Center was utilized on Feb 19 for vaccine distribution. The second shots to be given out on March 19.”

Buildings and Codes report by Trustee Joel Santana covered the time period from February 15, – February 26. The largest amount of actions in that period was the 104 Miscellaneous Inspections. With the courts closed no money was collected. The numbers on the other categories that are under the purview of Buildings and Codes were within the normal ranges.

Kohut adjourned the meeting and the next meeting will be on March 15 at 7:00pm at the Village Hall.

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