The Village News: Editorials

March 1, 2018

The Next Chapter, The February 26th Bellport Village Board Meeting


EditorialThe next chapter in the continuing saga of house rentals in Bellport Village, that’s been going on for over three years, unfolded at the February 26, 2018 Village Board meeting held in the Village Community Center located at 4 Bell Street in Bellport Village. Before I get to the house rental part of the meeting, labeled, “Neighborhood Preservation,” let’s go over some of the other significant news items from the meeting.

It was announced that the Village will be receiving 2.6 million dollars from FEMA to repair damage done to the Village dock by Hurricane Sandy. Mayor Fell said the Village has Village Clerk, John Kocay, to thank. It seems that in spite of being turned down repeatedly, Village Clerk Kocay continued to pursue these funds and in the end, prevailed. Thank you John!

Next, the Village Board voted to pierce the 2% Village Tax Cap. The vote was 4 to 1 with Trustee Gagliano voting against the move. Village Taxes for the coming year are yet to be determined, but the Village is required to have a public discussion and vote by the Board before they are allowed to pierce the 2% tax cap mandated by New York State.

Now the house rental, “Neighborhood Preservation,” part of the meeting...

This portion of the meeting started with an open discussion and there were some interesting points made. One resident felt that the $250, two year, registration fee was excessive, but another resident pointed out that houses are renting for $550 a night, or way more, so the point seemed to be dismissed.

Another, far more important point made was, that as a result of the way the code was written by the Village Attorney, David Moran, if a resident went on vacation and asked a relative or good friend to “house sit” for them in their absence, they would have to register their home as a rental, filling out all the paperwork and paying all the fees for a rental property even though no money was changing hands. This point was not disputed by the Village Board so I can only assume it’s true. If so, this clearly has to be changed.

Resident, and Attorney Lee Snead, pointed out what he felt were numerous legal improprieties in the new Village rental code, but he made one point that seemed to be particularly pertinent. If the problem all the discussion over the past three years is supposed to address is noise, disturbance and rowdiness by people renting a house in the Village, why not put the Village Code Enforcement Officers on full time, 24/7, over the summer months rather than write new codes? If there’s a problem next door, call Code Enforcement. Again, there was no response from the Village Board. In the end, the vote was taken and Trustee Gagliano abstained saying he wanted more time to consider all of the new points brought up at the meeting. The final vote was 3-1-1. Mayor Fell, Trustees Ferrigno and Rosenberg voted for, Trustee Mackin voted against and Trustee Gagliano abstaining.

Now, for our recordings of the meeting...

First, click here for Mayor Fell's comments at the end of the meeting summarizing his feelings about the new rental code. He had intended to make these comments at the beginning of the meeting.

Next, click here to listen to the entire portion of the Board meeting covering the new, “Neighborhood Preservation,” of rental, code.


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Larry Sribnick

Larry Sribnick