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November date set for hearing on proposed rental registry in East Hampton Town

East Hampton Town Hall is seen on July

East Hampton Town Hall is seen on July 2, 2012. Credit: Erin Geismar

East Hampton officials are anticipating a large turnout at a Nov. 19 public hearing on a proposed rental registry law aimed at preventing illegal share houses -- many in Montauk -- that some residents say is too intrusive.

The registry, first proposed last year, has generated controversy and is among several laws town officials have initiated to help control rowdy summertime visitors to the hamlet. Officials are considering a bigger meeting space than town hall, where hearings are usually held, to accommodate a potentially large crowd.

"I think the work that we have done [on the revised draft] is now ready to be heard by the public so we can weigh the full community's opinion to see if this is something we need to do," said East Hampton Supervisor Larry Cantwell.

Residents and homeowners who oppose the registry have said the proposed law represents an invasion of privacy since it would require such information be provided to the town as the name of the owner of the property, their contact information, the term of the lease, the number of rooms in a house and the number of tenants who are renting.

But town officials say they need a registry to help solve the years of problems with drunken partyers that include noise and parking issues associated with houses overcrowded with young revelers.

"We're not requiring [official] inspections of the property," assistant town attorney Michael Sendlenski said at Tuesday's town board work session at the Montauk firehouse. "We're not requiring anything not already required under the New York State code."

Sendlenski also discussed further details of the proposed registry and frequently asked questions, including who would be responsible if a person renting out a property thinks they have leased to two or three people and 10 or 12 people move in without their knowledge. The person responsible would be the person who has filled the home with "sub tenants," Sendlenski said. "The whole aim is to go after the culpable party."

Among those cited recently for illegally renting out their properties is Springs resident Leanna Erdmann, who is scheduled to appear in East Hampton Town Justice Court next Wednesday to answer to more than two dozen town and New York State safety violations.

At Tuesday's work session, Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez suggested the change of venue for next month's public hearing. The board is expected to postpone other business that would normally be handled at the Nov. 19 meeting to focus solely on the proposed rental registry.


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