The village of Saranac Lake hosted a “public input session” on the issue of short term rentals (STRs) on April 28, from 5–6:30 p.m. in the Harrietstown town hall. Trustees Rich Shapiro, Melinda Little, and Kelly Brunette, and Community Development Director Jamie Konkoski, were in attendance. Mayor Clyde Rabideau and Trustee Tom Catillaz did not attend.
- Attendees were given three handouts: An overview of the STR proposal with an upcoming schedule of events, a list of proposed STR permit requirements, and a copy of a new village STR survey.
- The village put several posters on easels along with some of the STR permit requirements and encouraged attendees to leave their thoughts and comments on sticky notes.
- The forum was well-attended by the public, with at least 40 people showing up; however, the format made it difficult to hear what others were saying. The input session was not recorded by the village.
- At first glance, it seemed there were primarily two sides represented at the event: those demanding controls on STRs and STR ownership, and those representing STR owners who want to continue operating in the village.
- As discussions developed, it became clear that many of the STR owners agreed that they don’t want to see Saranac Lake “become like Lake Placid,” but they also don’t trust the village board to take action in a way that won’t negatively affect their own STR units.
- STR owners also cited concerns about the village moving too fast on regulation without the necessary data. Some said they do not believe the village is being transparent in their decision-making.
- When a group of STR owners migrated from Trustee Shapiro to Trustee Brunette, Trustee Shapiro followed them and began yelling, telling Brunette she had to leave because they “can’t have a quorum.” The group followed Brunette outside the town hall, where they continued their conversation.
New Housing Webpage
- Before the meeting, the village published a new web page titled “Housing” that contains much of the information distributed at the meeting tonight.
- Although information remains scant, this is the first time the work of the village’s Housing Working Group has been mentioned on the village website. The Working Group was formed in December 2018. It has never regularly reported to the village board.