By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – With the deadline for tourist-accommodation permits nearing and a moratorium in its fifth month, Mayor Jeff Katz updated the Village Board, saying he foresees tighter regulations on housing for visitors to the village.
“Clearly, the future is going to be where tourist accommodations in the village are harder to come by,” said Katz. “We’re not saying you can’t have tourist accommodations, but we’re working on bolstering the definition of owner, occupancy and owner-occupancy.”
While meeting bi-weekly with the ad hoc tourist accommodation committee, Katz had hoped that the law would be ready for a public hearing at tonight’s meeting. He said the committee now plans to present it to the public in November for comment, in hopes of having the law before the board in January.
Among the pieces proposed in the law is a sunset clause on existing tourist accommodations, including Bed and Breakfasts – when the property is sold, the new owner must apply for a rental permit under the new, tighter laws.
But trustees Ellen Tillapaugh and Cindy Falk voiced concerns that this would hinder the sale and use of property. “I’m just not comfortable, with a business that has always operated legally, putting them out of business under new ownership,” said Falk. “In many case, I’m afraid they won’t be able to comply under the new rules.”
“We’re transferring buildings, not businesses,” argued trustee Jim Dean.
But while the law is being crafted, Jane Gentile, zoning enforcement officer, reminded existing tourist accommodations that the Nov. 1 deadline for renewal of their permit was a firm deadline. Although some have been received, she agreed to follow up with those who have not yet filed their paperwork.
“Tourist accommodations will still be a viable income producing option,” said Katz. “The law will just be a little tougher.”