A new law proposed by the Cazenovia Village Board would allow short-term home rentals within the village limits, but would impose multiple regulations on any such business, including the requirement of a special permit, a license, annual inspections and numerous other conditions.
By allowing but regulating this new business model in the village, the board is trying to “strike a balance” between allowing something numerous residents support and protecting the neighborhoods and community members who have concerns about noise, privacy and safety.
The proposed law, if enacted by the board, would “level the playing field” between short-term rental businesses and more traditional overnight businesses, while supporting and protecting residents’ interests, said Mayor Kurt Wheeler.
Short-term rentals — often referred to generically by the name of the online app “Airbnb” — are not mentioned in the village code and are viewed by the village board as being outside current zoning laws. The board has been considering amending the village code to define the term “transient occupancy” as “a living and/or sleeping accommodation provided for any period of less than 30 days” and to clarify that such uses are prohibited within residential districts, except by duly permitted bed-and-breakfast businesses.
The issue of regulating short-term home rentals in the village of Cazenovia began being looked into last December, when the board was apprised of multiple homeowners in the village renting out their homes through online apps such as Airbnb, VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner), HomeAway and FlipKey, among others. These online community marketplaces allow people to rent lodging — often their own homes — on short-term bases. Since then, the board has held public meetings and a work session on the issue.
At its June 4 regular monthly meeting, the village board introduced the draft version of a proposed law to allow but regulate transient occupancy homes in the village. Village Attorney Jim Stokes read the draft aloud and the board discussed, and asked for revisions, during the reading.
The draft proposal defined two classes of transient occupancy houses — owner occupied and non-owner occupied. Transient occupancy houses in the village residential district would be allowed only with a special use permit, a license to operate and a requirement to follow all regulations in the village code.
The draft regulations, after suggestions and changes by the village board, also include:
Stokes was tasked to revise and update the draft to reflect the board’s input as listed above, the final draft of which would be posted on the village website and available in the village office for public review.
The board scheduled a public hearing on the proposed law for 7 p.m. Monday, July 2, at the start of its regular monthly meeting.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.