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Bellport trustees take a step back to further study bed-and-breakfast law

Bellport Village Hall is shown on June 10,

Bellport Village Hall is shown on June 10, 2013. Credit: Brittany Wait

The Bellport Village board of trustees has put on hold its newly adopted bed-and-breakfast law and plans to form a committee to determine how to improve the legislation.

Board members adopted the code in July but never filed it with Department of State in Albany for approval, as required by state law. Therefore the law died after 30 days, village officials said.

Department of State spokesman Laz Benitez confirmed that.

Village attorney David Moran said trustees received a lot of pushback from residents after the code's adoption, forcing board members to reconsider the law.

"We held off to take a second look," he said. "Many residents didn't hear about the law until after it was adopted."

The code would have required bed-and-breakfasts to limit paying guests to four at any one time. It also called for parking for every occupant, and the business would have had to operate for at least three months out of the year.

Mayor Ray Fell said board members will form a bed-and-breakfast committee this week to determine how to improve the law and readopt it later this year. "We're going to put a committee together and fine-tune it," the mayor said.

Longtime village resident Mary Butler is expected to be named chairwoman of the seven-member volunteer committee, he said. "After that, they'll be off and running," Fell said.

A preliminary draft of the code setting strict guidelines for homeowners who want to rent their homes was presented to the public and adopted in July in order to tackle what village officials describe as a growing short-term rental business in the area.

Board members have struggled with how to distinguish a bed-and-breakfast rental with short-term stays from longer-term summer rentals that are popular in the South Shore village.

Such short-term rentals have recently been offered on websites that advertise homes in the village, with prices ranging from $550 to $800 per night.

One $800-per-night home included four bedrooms and bathrooms, a pool and pool house one block from Bellport Bay, according to a recent website posting.

Fell said the proposed code would have mandated that homeowners obtain permits for bed-and-breakfast rentals only after their residences pass safety, health and fire inspections.

If such a law is passed, homeowners would have six to eight months to comply.

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