QUEENSBURY — The Town Board has largely completed the short-term rental permit law, which would put sharp limits on the number of people who can rent a house.

The draft legislation limits occupancy to one or two people per bedroom, plus two more people in total for the house. Small bedrooms — 70 square feet — could have only one tenant; bedrooms of at least 100 square feet could have two occupants.

In the proposal, houses must also comply with code requirements common for hotels, including a kitchen fire extinguisher, smoke and carbon dioxide detectors and windows large enough to escape a fire in each bedroom.

Quiet hours would be 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., and a contact person designated by the landlord would be called to enforce any violations.

Landlords would also have to buy a three-year permit before renting out any part of their house, if the law is approved.

An Airbnb landlord made an appeal Monday night for leniency on some of the rules.

“Regular people have very few assets,” landlord Beth Gambino Portuese said. “My only assets are my house and my car. I do think it helps make ends meet.”

She has two houses — one for rentals, plus her own next door.

She came to Monday’s workshop meeting and persuaded the board to make one change to the proposed law.

Originally, the board was going to institute a limit of two or three cars per rental house. But she argued that could be unreasonable.

“We have a five-bedroom home. Five couples rented it for Thanksgiving weekend. They all came from different places, in five cars,” Portuese said. “Our rental home can fit nine vehicles in the driveway.”

Supervisor John Strough didn’t like the sound of that.

“We’re trying to avoid nine vehicles at one residence. Nine seems to cause problems — what a party!” he said.

But she argued that the limit should be based on the size of the house. The board agreed to allow one car per bedroom, with no cars allowed to park on the street.

As for the total occupancy, she tried to push for more than two people per bedroom.

“I have three sons. They’re all in one bedroom,” she said, adding, “Kids don’t necessarily cause problems at midnight.”

She allows up to 14 people in her rental home — two adults per bedroom, plus four children.

“That’s a lot of people, though,” Strough said.

Board member Tony Metivier was convinced, saying the limit should be two adults per bedroom, with children allowed to stay in the room.

Board member Catherine Atherden wasn’t as persuaded.

“They can stay anywhere? They’re irrelevant?” she said. “They still use water and toilets.”

Strough worried about septic, too, although Portuese said she had deliberately “over-built” her septic system to handle a six-bedroom house when it was built three years ago.

Metivier focused on the noise and behavior problems caused by unsupervised crowds. He said he wasn’t worried about a few children.

“I don’t think this is so much about that, as loading it up with 25 beer-drinking 18-year-olds,” he said.

For now, the legislation limits remain at two people per bedroom, plus two more for the total house. A three-bedroom house, for example, would have an occupancy limit of eight people.

The board is checking with a town attorney on whether that limit is legal.

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You can reach Kathleen Moore at 742-3247 or kmoore@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @ByKathleenMoore or at her blog on www.poststar.com.


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