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RENTALS: Decisions may impact tourism

Vacation rentals have been a hot topic across Chautauqua County municipalities. Within the last month, the Dunkirk Town Board, Sheridan Town Board and Lakewood Village Board have had to address the issue.

For the most part, our region appears to have a reluctance — especially by the lakes — to accept the issue. Sheridan Supervisor John Walker noted his town is looking to pass a local law that would place a nine-month moratorium on short-term rental properties.

“We’ll take a look at it and see what we come up with,” he said. “The Zoning Board does a lot of work and they don’t always get appreciated for what they do.”

In the town of Dunkirk, the result is a mixed bag. Residents on Woodlands Drive challenged a property there — and the Zoning Board backed the residents last week.

“The Zoning Board has decided that the zone enforcement officer’s interpretation of the short-term rental operating in an R1 residential district to be incorrect,” Dunkirk Zoning Board Chairman Scott Pagano noted in a statement. “We as a board disagree with the code enforcement officer’s interpretation that the language was not clear enough to act on. We think the language in the zoning book is clear enough.”

Tourism is one of the key drivers for Chautauqua County, especially in the summer months. These decisions, while benefiting homeowners, could have ramifications on those who may want to come here. If limits continue, those potential travelers may go elsewhere.

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