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Bellport Village wrestles with B&B rental regulations

Bellport Mayor Ray Fell, seen here in this

Bellport Mayor Ray Fell, seen here in this undated photo, and other village officials want to take another look at bed-and-breakfast rentals. Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Bellport residents have provided feedback to a village committee reviewing whether a failed law regulating bed-and-breakfasts should be re-enacted.

Most of the residents who packed Village Hall last week for an informational meeting had mixed opinions regarding if such businesses should be allowed in residential neighborhoods and business districts.

Village board members adopted a bed-and-breakfast code in July that would have allowed them but never filed it with the New York Department of State in Albany for approval, as required by state law. Therefore the law died after 30 days.

Trustees said they received a lot of backlash after the law was not enacted and in turn opted to form the committee to collect residents’ opinions. Under current village code hotels are allowed in the business district.

“I have no issues as long as homeowners take full responsibility for abuse. A permit should be attained from the village so that the municipality can contact the homeowners and issue warnings regarding rentals,” said resident Pamela Hannon, who attended the meeting.

Other residents had different opinions.

“Enforce the present code; no bed-and-breakfasts in Bellport residential zones. Keep it that way,” said resident Richard Serockl, 68. “Really simple.”

New details about the role of the committee emerged at the community meeting. Officials said the responsibilities of the committee have expanded to also look at short- and long-term rentals, and if renters would be allowed to use amenities such as village beaches and the golf course.

One issue the village board has struggled with recently is how to distinguish a bed-and-breakfast rental with short-term stays from longer-term summer rentals popular in the South Shore village and being advertised on lodging websites such as Airbnb.

“It’s a process that’s good to look at, good to review and the village will be a better place to live both for residents and those people who want to come and visit once the committee makes its recommendations,” Mayor Ray Fell said.

Committee members promised recommendations would come at a later date. Members said the purpose of the meeting was to share some of their findings about bed-and-breakfasts and rentals codes from several villages and towns across Long Island, and to ask for community suggestions, said committee chairwoman Mary Butler.

“Everybody is a stakeholder in this,” she said.

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