After months of deliberation, public input and revisions, the Cazenovia Village Board has adopted a local law allowing for short-term home rentals within the village.
The new law, unanimously passed by the board at its Aug. 6 regular monthly meeting, will allow short-term home rentals — generically referred to as an “Airbnb” from the popular app and website — within the village but imposes several regulations on such businesses, including the requirement of a special permit, a license, a maximum rental period of 60 days and annual inspections.
Airbnbs are not included in the village code and are considered outside current zoning laws. The board has been debating a change to 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 the permitted bed-and-breakfast businesses.
By allowing these regulations, the board is hoping to balance opposition from certain residents and support from others, acknowledging concerns like noise, privacy and safety.
The board briefly discussed the action’s SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review) as well and approved a negative declaration, which states that there is no substantial evidence that bed-and-breakfast businesses will have a significant effect on the environment.
“Probably the one impact that is most relevant to this action is the impact on neighborhood and community character, and conformance with the village’s Comprehensive Plan,” said village attorney Jim Stokes. “I think the objectives of the comprehensive plan to preserve the neighborhood character and setting are consistent with [the Airbnb regulations].”
Mayor Kurt Wheeler echoed those statements, stating that the proposed action is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and will not negatively affect the village’s character.
The village of Cazenovia began looking into short-term home rental regulations last December when the board was alerted of several homeowners in the village that were renting out their homes through online apps such as Airbnb, VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner), HomeAway and FlipKey. These hospitality services allow travelers to rent housing — often at others’ homes — for short-term lodging. Since then, the board has held public meetings, a public hearing and a work session on the issue.
“Months ago, we started with the most extreme possible position, which was banning the use [of bed-and-breakfast businesses] altogether,” said Mayor Kurt Wheeler.
Since last month, Wheeler said the only significant change made to the proposed law has been that a traditional bed and breakfast — where the owner is there throughout the guests’ stay — will be treated the same in the law as an Airbnb, as suggested by the Madison County Planning Department in its review of the village law.
Specifics of the new law include:
Failure to abide by these village regulations will result in denial or revocation of a transient occupancy license.
At the June 4 board meeting, the village board introduced the draft version of a proposed law to allow but regulate transient occupancy homes in the village, defining 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.
Wheeler made a motion to approve the resolution with a second by Trustee Fritz Koennecke and a unanimous vote by all trustees.
The proposed local law is available on the village website at villageofcazenovia.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/CazenoviaSTRdraft-2018-06-12.pdf. The next village board meeting will be held on Sept. 4 at 7 p.m.
The next Cazenovia Village Board meeting will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4, in the board meeting room in the village office.
There was also scheduled the annual 9/11 remembrance ceremony which will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11, at Memorial Park on Albany Street.
Reporter for the Eagle Bulletin and Cazenovia Republican.
Feb 17, 2019
Feb 17, 2019
Feb 17, 2019