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Greenport amends village rental code to make permits mandatory

Proponent says code change no longer targets Latino families

Greenport Village Hall in Greenport.

Greenport Village Hall in Greenport. Photo Credit: Erin Geismar

Starting this month, all property owners in Greenport who are renting their properties — either short-term or long-term — will be required to have a permit based on a village code change.

The Village Board of Trustees voted 5-0 at its Oct. 26 regular meeting to approve changes to Greenport’s Chapter 103 rental permit law, which had exempted short-term transient rentals, owner-occupied rentals and other rental units from needing a village permit.

Village Mayor George Hubbard said Wednesday that those properties make up a large chunk of Greenport’s rental properties.

“[Those rental units] never had to apply for permits, they never had to be inspected, and the feeling was we should be covering all the rentals, no matter what they are, and that they meet the code,” Hubbard said.

All rental property owners must now apply for village rental permits. The new code also eliminated many definitions, such as what makes up a family.

Village Trustee Doug Roberts, who opposed the original rental permit law years ago, said he supports the code change. Roberts said he felt certain parts of the previous law, such as the definition of families, targeted Latinos renting in Greenport by not allowing them to live in the same place if village law did not define them as family.

The code had defined family as “two or more persons that are related by blood, adoption, civil union or marriage, or up to five persons that are not related by blood, adoption, civil union or marriage, that are occupying one dwelling unit and living together as a family or the functional equivalent of a family.”

Roberts said the code change is “a great example of a group of people with different perspectives coming to an agreement, and I was glad to be a part of it.”

Trustee Mary Bess Phillips disagreed with Roberts’ assertion about the original law and Latinos. But she did say that removing many of the previous definitions would help streamline the rental application process and keep people safe by giving fire and public safety officials an accurate floor plan indicating the number of inhabitants in a home in case of an emergency.

The code change will go into effect later this month, pending New York State approval.

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