The Santa Clara Town Board will hold a public hearing on Thursday, June 8, 2023, beginning at 5:00 PM at the Santa Clara Town Hall concerning proposed Local Law No. 1 of 2023. The proposed local law is for the purpose of regulating short-term rentals (STR) of residential property in the Town of Santa Clara.
Vacation rentals are becoming increasingly popular in the Upper Saranac Lake area. Communities nationwide are in the midst of debates on the legality of such rentals, and the authority of municipalities to regulate them.
The proposed law can be found here.https://cdn.townweb.com/townofsantaclara.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/LOCAL-LAW-Town-Board-Version-4-7-2023-clean.pdf
At the Public Hearing, all interested parties may comment. Comments may also be submitted in writing at the meeting or mailed to the Town Clerk in advance of the Public Hearing to the following address:
Santa Clara Town Clerk
5359 State Route 30
Saranac Lake, New York, 12983
or sent by e-mail to: email@example.com .
Comments must be received no later than 5:00 PM on June 7, 2023, in order to be considered.
As a voice of protection for the watershed, and having an understanding in water quality, the USF has provided the Town with guidance throughout the development of the proposed law. The USF’s comments on the most recent version of the law can be found here.
The USF favors provisions in the proposed law that address protecting the town’s natural resources. Still, we feel the proposed law falls short when addressing septic systems and preventing invasive species spread.
With an increasing number of residents voicing concerns over noise, parking, and trash, town officials across the Adirondacks are taking notice and adapting similar laws to this proposal. Concerns are aggravated by short-term rentals being run by remote hosts who may not know who they rent to or how the guests use the property. On occasion, homes are being purchased exclusively as an investment property only, never intended to be used as a family residence. Some attribute this to the prices of area houses skyrocketing, and the decrease in long-term housing, leading to the lack of societal contributors and a productive local workforce.
While a majority of short-term guests live quietly and respect the neighbors, the USF has pointed out concerns of STR impacts on the watershed:
- Renters can lack consideration and empathy to fellow users of the waterbody or for environmental concerns. They may not identify with the lake and the care required to maintain water quality.
- Increased wastewater loads on outdated septic systems can cause environmental and health issues. What were often systems installed for small family weekend cottage use can be overburdened with more continuous use and use that exceeds the number of users meant for the system.
- Renters may not connect with watershed organizations such as the USF or the Upper Saranac Lake Association, supporting the lake community socially or financially. These organizations fill an important role and are a much-needed component for advocacy of environmental stewardship.