The Village News: Editorials

January 14, 2018

Village Rentals and the 16 Day Rule


EditorialAs I see it, there are four groups concerned with the issue of rentals in Bellport Village. There are the ordinary residents, the residents who see their home as a source of income by renting it out, the peripheral businesses who stand to make a profit by providing services to the residents renting out their homes, and the poor Village Board whose job it is to come up with some reasonable Codes and Rules that probably won’t make everyone happy, but as they say, “If you’ve ticked off everyone to about the same degree, you probably made the right decision.”

Ordinary, everyday residents didn’t buy a home here to create a profit center. Sure, they’d like to make a profit someday when they sell their home, but for now, their home is a place to raise their families and enjoy their lives. Bellport is their perfect choice for this purpose. A beautiful village, quaint downtown, golf, marina, beach, parks, tree lined streets to walk and ride bikes on, and outdoor live music in the summer. You can’t beat this place. Every time we leave the Village to go on vacation someplace else, we come back saying, “Why did we leave? We have everything we could want right here.”

The people wanting to rent their homes, either long term or short term see their homes as a source of income. They are renting their homes to make money. It’s that simple and actually, they should be able to. It is their home and they should be able to rent it to someone else if they want to. Well, they can. The law says they can. In fact, if they rent their home long enough, the people renting their home can even vote in Village Elections if they want to. Being able to rent your home isn’t the issue, it’s how long the rental is for that raises issues.

At many of the public meetings that have been held to discuss the issue of rentals, I’ve been quite disappointed with many of these folk who want to rent their homes, but almost never identify themselves as having “skin in the game.” They want to rent their homes to make money. Instead, they represent themselves as ordinary residents asking the simple question, “Well, why shouldn’t people be able to rent out their homes? It’s their home.” There should be full disclosure. Everyone in that room should know that they’re there because they want to make a profit from their home. In that way, everyone can be aware of their motivation and be able to weigh the comments accordingly.

In my opinion, another misrepresentation I’ve seen is the ordinary residents who claim they want people to be able to rent out their homes because they often have visitors from out of town who need a place to stay and they’d like their visitors to be able to rent nearby. Give me a break! If I know friends and relatives from out of town well enough to invite them to my home in Bellport, they’re staying with me. I want them to. I like them. They might get a couch, Aero-Bed or even an exercise mat to sleep on, but there’s always room for them and I never, ever, charge someone for staying over at my home as some residents have indicated they do.

When our daughter got married at the Bellport Country Club, we had 200 people coming in from all over the country and it wasn’t possible for everyone to stay with us. There are loads of motels and hotels within 15 or 20 minutes of Bellport. The one we chose even provided a bus to bring our visitors to and from the wedding at no extra charge! There’s even a brand new hotel only a five or six minute drive from Bellport that wasn’t there when our daughter got married.

Then, there are the peripheral businesses that stand to make a profit by providing services to the residents renting out their homes. These might be local businesses or online businesses such as Airbnb or VRBO, to name just two. Another case of what I consider misrepresentation is a local business that made comments online supporting short term rentals in the Village. The problem was, it never identified itself as being a business, again, having “skin in the game,” and standing to make a profit from rentals in the Village. That’s just plain wrong.

Which brings us to the poor Village Board that’s trying to come up with a reasonable solution to all of this. As I’ve said, the issue isn’t one of can you or can’t you rent your home to someone else. You can. The real issue is the quality of life that the Village Board is trying to protect by limiting “short term” rentals in the Village. Ordinary residents don’t want loud, late into the evening, parties next door. They don’t want ten cars parked all over the lawn next door; they don’t want eight, individual, strangers renting rooms next door for one or two nights. The Village Board is trying to protect the quality of life for the regular, ordinary residents of the Village. That’s their job, to protect Village residents. When the Board came up with the idea of restricting rentals in the Village to no less than 16 days, during the summer season, it was a reasonable decision that would limit a home to being rented only once in any given month. It also would hopefully eliminate many of the problems that come along with short term rentals. With a little luck, the 16 day rule will mean visitors will be walking and biking our streets, supporting our local businesses, and depending on how the Village Board rules about the use of Village Amenities, enjoying the things that brought the rest of us here rather than turning Bellport Village into a “party” town. Is everyone going to be happy? No! Will they be equally unhappy? Probably.



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Larry Sribnick

Larry Sribnick