Arkwright approves short-term rental law

ARKWRIGHT — The legislative calendar is complete after a recent meeting of the Town Board, in which a short-term rental property law was enacted by the town. The law was unanimously accepted.

The law was voted on shortly after a public hearing, following a similar path as other recent laws to be enacted in the town, including solar energy regulation and strengthened town protection against illegal dumping.

“We tried to be very reasonable. We tried to balance the right of the property owner with the public good, with the protection of the town. I think we’ve got it pretty good, but with any law … they are all meant to be reviewed,” Arkwright Supervisor Brian McAvoy said. “This is our starting point.”

As a condition of the law enacted in Arkwright, a special use permit application is contingent on an inspection of the property by Code Enforcement Officer Ed Pagano and requires a one-time fee upon registration. Special use permits will be ruled on by the Town Board.

“This isn’t about money, it isn’t about control, it’s about safety. We want everybody to follow the same safety protocols,” McAvoy said.

The town elected not to “grandfather in” existing short-term rentals because of the safety requirements to be approved for a special use permit.

“For everything we know, anybody in the town currently operating one of these is fine. We don’t expect any problems with our current business owners. We just want to have a talk with them, check their place out, and make sure everybody is comfortable,” McAvoy said.

Like many municipalities in Chautauqua County and beyond in recent years, regulation of short-term rentals has prompted legislation to apply to such properties. However, as opposed to the town of Dunkirk and the village of Cassadaga, the town of Arkwright’s process moved much quicker. Dunkirk and Cassadaga each surpassed a year of debate on the topic, when Arkwright began drafting the law less than a year ago.

“I feel accomplishment. I think we did OK,” McAvoy said. “I’m proud of the work that everybody did, and I hope it does well for the town.”


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