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Greenport passes code revision limiting short-term Airbnb rentals to owner-occupied homes 

Greenport, a village of 2,400 in the town

Greenport, a village of 2,400 in the town of Southold, features views of the Peconic Bay, a shopping district, restaurants and hotels. Credit: Erin Geismar

Greenport’s new regulations on short-term and Airbnb rentals could go into effect in November after the village's board of trustees unanimously approved code revisions that apply to single- and two-family homes.

Under the amended law, approved on a 5-0 vote, short-term rentals — defined under Greenport’s code as less than 14 days — are prohibited unless the space is owner-occupied or there is a long-term tenant with at least a one-year lease agreement. Owners of two-family homes are exempt from the 14-day minimum stay, as long as one of the units is owner-occupied or there is a long-term tenant with at least a one-year lease agreement. Because an owner must live on the property year-round, only portions of a single-family home can be rented for short stays.

“The law gives a direction that the Greenport community wants to go in," said trustee Mary Bess Phillips. "They don’t want to be known as ‘The Airbnb Capital of The East End.’ ”

Some residents have complained that short-term, transient renters have generated noise, trash and traffic congestion in the village and called for tougher regulations, while some property owners argued that such regulations would hurt their prospects for rental income.

“It’s been a long process, going back and forth with different versions [of the law], and we finally got something that the board and the public seem comfortable with,” Mayor George Hubbard said Friday.  

Josh Meltzer, head of Northeast policy for Airbnb, said Friday that, "We are currently reviewing the new regulations passed by the Village Board of Trustees, to determine how they will impact those who depend on home sharing in order to make a little extra income here in Greenport."

The law will go into effect after it is filed with and approved by New York State, the latter of which is expected to happen in November, officials said.

“It feels good that we took a step, and we’re protecting housing for people who live here year-round and work here, and I think this is what the village residents wanted," said trustee Doug Roberts. "They spoke loud and clear, so we did what they wanted us to do.”

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