Village of the Branch officials said they may regulate short-term rentals such as those offered through Airbnb, although they acknowledge their tiny community — miles from the Long Island Sound and the South Shore beaches — isn’t a big draw for the vacationers who typically use the services.
“I don’t think we’re really going to get tons of people saying ‘I can’t wait to go to Village of the Branch,’ ” trustee John Carro said at a Village Board meeting earlier this month.
“We don’t really see a lot of impact, not being a waterfront community,” Mayor Mark Delaney said in a later interview. “But we want to make sure we’re being cognizant of what our residents need and staying on top of market trends.”
Trustees last week asked the village attorney to research codes in other Long Island municipalities such as Hempstead Town, Shelter Island and Westhampton Dunes that have passed regulations governing short-term rentals. Typically, those ordinances apply to rents of a month or shorter.
If trustees decide to move forward, Delaney said, the village could have a new law on the books by next summer.
But village trustees aren’t necessarily looking to follow municipalities that have banned short-term rentals, Delaney said.
While trustees wanted to discourage residents from bringing in disturbances from short-term rentals, they recognized that rental income could be a boon for some, Delaney said.
“We’re also a business-friendly village with a number of shopping centers, and we’re cognizant that the cost of living only goes up,” he said.
Tourists in the 1-square-mile village might visit for what the village website calls “a thriving business district and a historical district where residents and visitors alike can step back in time and discover the history of Smithtown and the surrounding communities in unique settings.”
An Airbnb search in the area showed one apartment that might have been located in the village. The listing didn’t give a precise location, but promised the one-bedroom apartment, which cost $79 per night, was “very quiet and peaceful, perfect for a good night sleep!”