Recap: Village of Saranac Lake’s Work Session on Short-term Rentals

Three Saranac Lake village trustees—Kelly Brunette, Melinda Little, and Rich Shapiro—held an open-to-the-public work session to discuss short-term rental regulations in the village. They were joined by Village Community Development Director Jamie Konkoski, Village Manager John Sweeney, and Village Clerk Kareen Tyler. Public comments were not allowed, but a public comment session is expected to happen in the near future.

Why It’s Important

The three trustees acknowledged there is great concern within the community regarding the village’s lack of affordable housing. If approved, they said the $7,500 purchase of RentalScape software would allow them to track short-term rental properties and gather data on those same properties. Creating permit application requirements for short-term rental operators was discussed at length. It is unclear what the village’s plan is beyond imposing requirements and gathering data.

Our Takeaways

  • A timeline for dealing with affordable housing concerns wasn’t discussed and it is not clear what will become of the data collected via RentalScape.
  • There will likely be a fee for obtaining a short-term-rental property permit. Cost of permits will likely be on a sliding scale, ranging in the neighborhood of $50–200.
  • The village will likely approve $7,500 to pay for RentalScape. Projected cost for the second year is $4,600. Projected cost for the third year, assuming an increase in short term rentals, is $4,850.
  • The trustees would like rental permit fees to cover the cost of the RentalScape software, not create a new revenue base.
  • Permit application requirements are heavily based on what was done in Lake George, North Elba, and Warrensburg.
  • Requirements will likely include listing an emergency contact, signing an affidavit swearing the property meets health and safety standards, and submitting a parking plan. Most, if not all, of the requirements are reflected in existing village laws. A draft of potential requirements should be posted on the village website soon.
  • The village board has yet to determine how the requirements will be enforced.