TOWN OF ITHACA SHORT-TERM RENTALS
Short-term rentals are currently defined as:
- The rental of a dwelling unit, or portion thereof, for a term of less than 30 consecutive days.
- The rental of a dwelling where the owner lives and sleeps in the unit, or in another dwelling unit on the same or an adjacent tax parcel, throughout the short-term renter’s stay, where no more than two bedrooms are rented at any one time.
- The rental of a dwelling where the owner does not live and sleep in the unit, or in another dwelling unit on the same or an adjacent tax parcel, throughout the short-term renter’s stay.
The main premise of this legislation appears to be the objective of allowing property owners to rent to others on a short-term basis, while also protecting the public’s health, safety and welfare.
proposed legislation the Ithaca Town Board indicates that it desires to protect public welfare by enforcing limits on short-term rentals. Preventing to the greatest extent possible public safety risks, including but not limited to, increased noise, traffic, trash and parking impacts are listed as one objective of this legislation. Also noted are the topics of protecting neighborhood character, preserving property values, protecting housing affordability, and to promote the efficient use of housing inventory.
This proposed legislation would enact tighter restrictions on short-term rental use. Some of these limitations are listed here:
- Except in the Lakefront residential zoning districts, short-term rental uses may occur only in a dwelling unit that is the principal residence of at least one of the property owners, in another dwelling unit on the same tax parcel as the principal residence, or in a dwelling unit on no more than one adjacent tax parcel that is owned by the same owner(s).
- Each dwelling unit used for a short-term rental is required to have an operating permit.
- Code enforcement officers will be able to request a search warrant whenever the owner(s) or managing agent fails to allow inspections of any short-term rental property.
- Code enforcement department must be notified prior to each short-term rental use of the dates of the short-term rental period.
That being said, the proposed legislation brings up some concerns for homeowners who desire to rent their properties out. Ithaca town laws already give homeowners the right to rent their properties. Enforcing these tightened restrictions will greatly impact a homeowner’s ability to generate income needed to offset housing costs. Ithaca has seen a 19% increase in assessed home values in the past 5 years. Utilizing short-term rentals provides homeowners with an avenue for offsetting some of these costs.
Ithaca homeowners also typically rely on short-term rental during peak travel and tourism season. The Ithaca area is known as a tourism destination, with wineries, festivals, Cayuga Lake events, etc. Enforcing tighter restrictions on the use of short-term rentals will diminish financial opportunity provided by those traveling to the area.
A final point of consideration with the proposed legislation is that the public has not been afforded a reasonable amount of time for reaction and comment. The current proposal shows that the legislation would go into effect on January 1, 2022. This simply gives homeowners inadequate time to address questions, concerns, and to revisit existing or planned short-term rentals.
In summary, the proposed legislation, while seeking to preserve public health and safety, will bring more stringent limitations on homeowners seeking to offset the cost of their homes.
PLEASE ALSO CONSIDER SPEAKING OUT DURING THE PUBLIC HEARING, DECEMBER 13, 5:30 PM. HERE IS A LINK TO THE YOUTUBE CHANNEL TO WATCH AND LISTEN TO THE MEETING. HERE IS THE ZOOM LINK TO BE USED FOR SPEAKING OUT DURING THE PUBLIC HEARING PORTION.
HERE IS A LINK TO THE DRAFT LEGISLATION THAT WILL BE VOTED ON DECEMBER 13, 5:30PM.