Shawangunk weighs short-term rental licenses

By Ella Connors
Posted 6/19/24

A new law addressing short-term rental (STR) licenses was put up for the Shawangunk Town Board’s consideration at a recent meeting.

The proposed piece of legislation defines an STR as …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Shawangunk weighs short-term rental licenses


A new law addressing short-term rental (STR) licenses was put up for the Shawangunk Town Board’s consideration at a recent meeting.

The proposed piece of legislation defines an STR as “any lawful dwelling unit which is rented or leased for a period of less than 30 consecutive days.” Town of Shawangunk Supervisor Ken Ronk Jr. said the most crucial part of the law — highlighted in Section 14 — requires fire and safety inspections in all homes. The number of bedrooms permitted in each residence would also be limited, with the proposed number by the board currently standing at eight — half of what is allowed via country regulations, according to Ronk.

“I feel strongly about striking a balance between the needs of the business owner and also the safety of the community and the residents of the Air BNB,” Ronk said.

Ronk — who is also the assistant chief at the Wallkill Ambulance Corps — said that when responding to emergency situations at the STRs they want assurance that these residences are safe for responders as well as those living there. He added that these safety concerns are also relevant toward other Town Board members as Councilman Joe LoCiciero is the former chief of the Wallkill Fire Department.

The law would also not require owner occupancy, but would demand that a designated person be able to be at the residence within a certain block of time to respond to any complaints. As of now, that response time would be limited to 30 minutes, but Ronk mentioned the possibility of raising it slightly to 45 minutes.

Section 15 of the law states that applicants must notify all property owners who live within a 200 foot radius of the STR including the name and phone number of the contact person so that they can be reached in the event that there are any problems.

The fines and penalties section of the law is left blank as of now, which deals with consequences should owners not comply with the regulations set forth by the town. Town Councilman Alex Danon said that many STR owners make so much money through renting out their property, that fines do not impose a great enough threat to them. Town Board members spoke with meeting attendees about concerns regarding these penalties and creating an incentive for owners to act in accordance with the regulations in place.

The code official is also warranted to notify the owner of an STR that their license is proposed to be revoked for any reason.

“The owner shall be afforded a limited opportunity to cure any alleged violations, unless, in the opinion of the Code Official, life and safety issues require immediate action,” Section 20 of the legislation reads.

The board also debated adding a section regarding mass gatherings at these places to regulate the number of people that can be at the STR at a given time, with some emphasizing that it should be mandated that neighbors be made aware about any parties held on the premises. There were also concerns raised because there is no zoning for the police to enter these residences should there be noise complaints or reports of a disruptive atmosphere.

The legislation arises after past complaints by Town of Shawangunk residents who have noted disturbances caused by STRs. In August 2022, many took to the town board meeting to express their grievances, but without adopting an official STR law, the board lamented that there was not much they could do to help.

All STR owners would additionally be required by this law to post the Good Neighbor Poster in an easily visible location for all guests to provide them with necessary information including emergency contacts, trash information and parking occupancy.

Ronk said he hopes to set a public hearing reviewing the legislation at their July meeting.

“We really need to ensure that we have safe places for people to rent out in the Town of Shawangunk,” Ronk said.