Zoning rewrite zooms in

Residents favor short-term rentals and the farmers’ market

By KATIE COLLINS
Posted 3/18/21

ELDRED, NY — Concerns about short-term rentals and the future of the Barryville Farmers’ Market were clear March 9 during a public hearing on a proposed rewrite of the Town of Highland …

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Zoning rewrite zooms in

Residents favor short-term rentals and the farmers’ market

Posted

ELDRED, NY — Concerns about short-term rentals and the future of the Barryville Farmers’ Market were clear March 9 during a public hearing on a proposed rewrite of the Town of Highland zoning laws. 

Of the responses, newly appointed code enforcement officer Jim Hanson reported there had been a “pretty good response to zoning” but also “some negative responses” to proposed regulations for new farmers’ markets. Regarding the existing farmers’ market in Barryville, Hanson said the square footage isn’t appropriate because it’s a third of an acre and the current market is 76,000 square feet. Changes are needed, even though the present regulations are “pretty much grandfathered in.” 

Thus, Hanson proposed that the square footage requirement be changed to two acres as that size would accommodate current and future farmers’ markets. Final approval of all amendment proposals is up to the town’s planning board. 

For short-term rentals, Hanson said the only concern was about present 30-day rentals; the board opined it should be extended to 60 days. The problem, however, is sales tax and most who rent by month don’t want to pay a room tax. Hanson suggested that long-term rentals go beyond 30 days. With that, the owners would not be penalized for long-term rentals or have to pay a room tax. 

Councilmember Fred Bosch explained that the primary reason for the zoning rewrite was so the town’s proposed zoning conforms to the river management plan requirements. 

With the rewrite, supervisor Jeff Haas said the town is now in conformance. 

Many letters were received in support of the farmers’ market and sought to ensure it remained. One letter said the Barryville market offers “county-wide and regional benefits” that include bringing visitors to the area. The market, simply, is a “part of our rural identity and image.” 

As for short-term rentals, in another letter, the writer said Airbnbs need to be supported. Under the present draft, the rentals are to be at a maximum of 30 days, but the writer asked why not 60 days with clauses. Jules Robinson presented the board with several recommendations regarding short-term rentals. Since he rents his home long-term in the winter and for short-term in the summer, Robinson said it “should be the prerogative of the owner of the house to decide how he rents his home.” He concluded that existing short-term rentals should be grandfathered in if they are in compliance with the New York State building codes. 

Haas said he would like the planning board and UDC to know the public’s concerns, so the town can “hopefully” address the issues even though it will take “a lot of work to come up with the proper plan.” Haas expressed confidence that, there is a “good team” working on the plan and “things take time;”  “zoning issues are very contentious sometimes.”       

Councilwoman Kaitlin Haas said comments are welcome to be heard during public hearings, but they must be submitted by 12 noon via email of that day.

The public hearing was recessed until Tuesday, April 13 at 6:30 p.m. To learn more about the proposed local laws, zoning codes or public notices, visit www.townofhighlandny.com or stop by the town clerk’s office in Eldred, NY.

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