Port North bans rentals shorter than 6 months

Port North bans rentals shorter than 6 months
Mayor Bob Weitzner (center) and the Port Washington North board of trustees at Wednesday's meeting. (Photo by Luke Torrance)

Anyone looking to open a bed and breakfast in Port Washington North will have to go elsewhere, as the village banned all rentals less than six months in length.

The Board of Trustees approved the ban unanimously last Wednesday.

During previous public hearings, the village trustees had discussed allowing rentals for less than a week, but with a long list of regulations attached. In the end, they decided it was not worth the trouble.

“We just did not feel that our community is set up for that and does not have the proper administration necessary to regulate it,” Mayor Bob Weitzner said. 

The issue came to the village’s attention because residents of Mill Pond Acres, a condominium complex for people over the age of 55, were concerned that some complex residents were renting out their condos.

“They were concerned about a number of issues: safety, continuity, people are renting homes out and you don’t know who these people are,” Weitzner said.

He said he was not sure if this had occurred or was merely a rumor but the village thought it a good idea to tackle rental policy in Port Washington North anyway.

Weitzner added that the density of the village, with many residences close to one another, was another factor in eliminating short-term rentals.

“It’s different if someone rents a house on Sands Point or at the beach where the houses are further apart and it’s not as noticeable,” he said. “But in an attached housing community like Port Washington North with very close proximity, we felt it was best to protect our quality of life.”

The ban covers not only bed and breakfasts but rental websites like Airbnb and Home Away. The penalty for the first violation will be a fine of no more than $500, the second violation by a fine of up to $1,000, the third violation by a fine of up to $1,500 and the fourth violation by a fine of no more than $2,500 or up to 15 days in prison.

The village board also discussed its first bill of 2018, which would ban double utility poles.

Weitzner said the proposed law is modeled after one enacted by the Town of North Hempstead. The town used the law to speed up the replacing of poles along Port Washington Boulevard and other major roads. Port Washington North is focused on utility poles along Cow Neck Road.

“We’ve given it six to nine months to see some action, and there has been little of it,” he said. “It is not PSE&G responsible at this point, this is not an anti-PSE&G utility law, they put the poles out but the other utilities need to follow suit: Verizon, Altice and local municipalities.”

The issue was tabled, Weitzner said, because the village did not get the public notice out in time before the holidays. A discussion of the bill will be held at the village’s next meeting on Feb. 7.

The village also discussed a bond resolution for land acquisition. Port North received money from the sale of land for condominiums — a process that has been going on for years, Weitzner said — and plans to use it to purchase a little less than five acres for a park along Channel Drive.

“The park will be used for anything from outdoor rink to a soccer field,” Weitzner said. “It will more or less be an extension of the bay walk.”

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