Lyme residents pack meeting over proposed rental law

Lyme residents pack meeting over proposed rental law
Town of Lyme residents pack a meeting to discuss a proposed law that would restrict property rentals. (Source: WWNY)

CHAUMONT, N.Y. (WWNY) - People from the town of Lyme packed the municipal office Wednesday night to sound off on proposed rules that would restrict rental properties.

"We can't send out letters to every town resident or every out-of-town resident who doesn't know what's going on," town supervisor Scott Aubertine told the crowd.

The town offices overflowed with property owners voicing their concerns on a proposed town law.

That law would restrict short-term rentals, a business fueled by travel websites like Airbnb and a driving force of tourism for the Lyme area in the summer months.

If the law is passed, property owners who rent would have to deal with several changes.

To start, the owners would need a yearly permit to rent and the owner would have to live in their rental property for an unspecified period of time.

Quiet hours would take effect from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Plus, only two people could stay in a bedroom, adding an additional two occupants during a rental period.

The law is being floated because some residents have complained about rowdy out-of-towners staying in rental homes and cottages.

Amanda Miller, who rents out several properties in the town, says this legislation could prevent her from doing business. In two years of using Airbnb, Miller says she’s never had complaints.

“They’re doing what anybody would do on the lake as a homeowner, a cottage owner,” she said. “They’re 99 percent not disruptive -- they’re good people, coming to this area to spend money at the bars, the restaurants, the grocery store, hardware store, gas station.”

Cari Greene, owner of the Blue Heron restaurant in Chaumont, says this law, which could restrict tourism, would hurt her business as well.

“As my fellow business owners know,” she said, “we need these people to come into our village to spend money so I can pay my taxes, so I can stay open year-round.”

Several in attendance complained they didn't know about the law until recently.

Aubertine says the town board has been working on it since September.

"I do not like imposing laws on people any more than the next person, however the town board takes an oath to ensure the health, welfare and safety of the residents," he said. "I take offense at people who tell us we should do our research, when they fail to attend board meetings."

The town made no decisions at Wednesday's meeting.

Aubertine said he hopes the board can take the public’s input and make revisions by its July 10 meeting.

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