Lyme residents object to short-term rental law

Lyme rental law

CHAUMONT, N.Y. (WWNY) - Town of Lyme residents take issue with a local law over rentals such as Airbnb.

In a room of mostly empty chairs, a few town residents made their voices heard during a public hearing Wednesday night, opposing a law for short-term rental properties.

“The disrespect that the board has shown, whether you meant to or not, is appalling,” town planning board member Gaile Miller said.

Miller says she and others on the planning board worked hard to draft a law but says what the town has put forward misses the mark.

The town’s proposal would require a limit to the number of cars allowed on a rental property, where they are allowed to park, the number of people allowed to occupy the rental, and each property owner would have to lay specific ground rules in writing with visitors about noise and behavior -- to name a few provisions.

Violations of any kind could cost a short-term rental owner up to $950.

Property owners say this law is not fair.

“If a majority of the people aren’t looking for this law,” short-term rental owner Rick Hathaway said. “I don’t see a need to push it forward.”

A handful of people spoke against the measure. No one spoke in favor of it.

“Ninety-five percent of the people in the rest of the town don’t have a problem,” Kingsley Charles said.

Local real estate agent and short-term rental owner Amanda Miller asked if the law could be thrown out.

“Now, if we all had tons of complaints, I guess maybe I could see that there might be some need for something with a little bit more girth to it,” she said, “but this is garbage.”

A short-term rental committee was formed and they say they have a plan that would avoid legislation and instead make a governing body of individuals to oversee short-term rentals and take care of any complaints.

“You know, if you over legislate, you will over litigate,” committee member Patrick Wolf said. “This is not a legislative problem. It doesn’t have to be one.”

Town Supervisor Scott Aubertine says he heard the concerns loud and clear.

“Oh yeah, I think there are changes that need to be made in the law that was proposed to us,” Aubertine said.

What those changes are, are yet to be decided. The town board will meet on February 10 and a public hearing will be set for some time in March.

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