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Like other Long Island communities, Islip considers writing stricter short-term rental laws

Julie Hession, left, and her friend and neighbor,

Julie Hession, left, and her friend and neighbor, Joann Scognamillo, stand in front of the home at 5 Morgan Lane on Friday, Aug. 28, 2015 in Bayport. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

The Town of Islip is among a number of Long Island municipalities forced to look at short-term rental laws -- or the lack thereof -- as complaints are lodged about high short-term rental turnover at homes in residential neighborhoods.

Under the Islip Town code, the town issues rental occupancy permits, which are valid for two years from the date they are issued but do not specify rental length restrictions, according to officials and the code.

Similar debates over short-term rentals have popped up across Long Island. In Bellport, a village where no hotels are available, a bed-and-breakfast code for owner-occupied homes was passed in July, setting rules for parking and limiting paying guests to four people at a time. The Southold Town Board is considering setting a short-term-rental limit of at least 14 days.

Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter, at a recent town board meeting, acknowledged the problem and said "the code does need to be changed." But town officials noted that amending the town code would take precision so short-term rentals in beach communities like those on Fire Island would not be adversely affected.

Some Bayport residents at the meeting said that a rotation of renters hosting parties and weddings at a house on Morgan Lane has wreaked havoc on their cul-de-sac. Joseph Ialacci, who rents the Morgan Lane home for short-stay use, said in an interview after the meeting that he has been working with neighbors "to address any factual and legitimate concerns."

A listing for the waterfront home on the popular short-term rental site Airbnb shows it is available for $490 a night and includes sleeping accommodations for nine people in three bedrooms, with two baths, heated whirlpool tub, and two large decks overlooking a 1.5-acre yard and canal. The listing says the owner "will be out of town" and tells guests to send a text message if needed.

"This house is perfect for quiet getaways. . . . It is such a peaceful classy quiet town," the listing reads.

Neighbors of the house said at the town board meeting and in interviews that since it has been rented out for the past three years, the neighborhood has been anything but quiet.

"He has a lovely home, but it's a constant barrage of people, parties, 50 cars parked on the street," Julie Hession, 73, a retired sixth-grade teacher in the Longwood school district who lives in the cul-de-sac, said in an interview.

A next-door neighbor on Morgan Lane, Stephen Gracie, 53, who owns a landscaping business, said in an interview that he had to call the police twice after finding short-term renters who wandered into his home thinking his was the one they had rented online.

"It's a noise issue, but it's also a safety issue," Gracie said. "This is a residential neighborhood with kids. We have new people coming and going all the time and we have no idea who they are."

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