Short-term rental rules to cover parking, listing transparency, and more

Warwick. The village also agreed to a 16-month contract with Constellation Energy.

| 19 Jun 2024 | 10:23

The Warwick Village Board continued working on short-term rental code at the June 17 meeting, focusing on parking concerns and the impact of corporate ownership.

Determining the number of parking spaces required for a short-term rental led to a discussion on whether the code should comply with existing regulations for bed and breakfasts or with regulations for residential properties. On the guidance of village attorney Stephen Gaba, the board agreed that parking rules for short-term rentals should comply with the existing requirements for the type of dwelling, noting that in some cases off-street parking is not available.

The board also discussed who may operate a short-term rental property and affirmed a previous determination that properties located within the central business district did not have to be owner-occupied in order to be used as a short-term rental, while those in the residential district were required to be owner-occupied.

The issue of ownership initiated a debate on the prevalence of corporate entities owning and running short-term rentals at the expense of the community. Trustee Thomas McKnight noted challenges experienced by other municipalities that have struggled with whom to litigate if problems arise. Trustee Mary Collura added her concerns about the impact of corporate-owned short-term rentals on the local market.

“They’re causing the choking of the housing market because they’re the ones that are purchasing homes and flipping them into Airbnbs, and they’re also purchasing homes and like jacking up rent prices.”

The board deliberated on how listings are promoted and whether they should be required to show proof that they are a legally operating rental. While the trustees conceded they could not control how websites promote their listings, they determined that the village’s short-term rental application should include a statement requiring advertisements to include their short-term rental permit number.

Renewable energy

The village of Warwick is investing further in green energy, as the board agreed to a 16-month contract with Constellation Energy for 100% renewable energy for its electrical power supply. The board determined this option would best support the village’s climate smart initiatives. The trustees debated the length of the contract, wondering if they should choose a shorter term on the chance the village were to join a community choice plan. Gaba, however, informed them that this is not likely to happen soon.

“I don’t have a crystal ball but I’m pretty confident you will not be on a community choice aggregate within one year today.”

Other business

The village continues its investment into sidewalks and has accepted a proposal from Engineering & Surveying Properties to survey Wheeler Avenue between Main Street and Cherry Street for the purpose of an engineering design for new sidewalks at a cost not to exceed $7,850.