LAKE PLACID – The city of Nordelba has received its first request for an exemption from the city’s moratorium on issuing new short-term holiday rental permits, and the city council held a public hearing on Tuesday for the request.
Tim and Jill Gerrity are applying for an exemption from the moratorium on their property on Juniper Circle, the couple’s primary residence. Their application says they are traveling “several times a year” for work with her two young children and those travel expenses “out of the bag.” According to the application, the Gerritys could not live without rental income to cover the cost of owning their home during the trip “make ends meet.”
The town of Nordelba and the village of Lake Placid passed local law in March imposing a six-month moratorium on the issuance of new short-term rental permits at town and village boundaries as local councils consider changes to their STR regulations. Since the city’s moratorium began in early March, the moratorium would end around early September.
A deviation allowance was included in local law.
People can apply to the city clerk for an exception to the moratorium if they believe it “would entail practical difficulties or exceptional hardship” on them, according to the law. A public hearing for waiver requests is required by law before the city can approve an waiver, and the City Council must approve or deny the request within 30 days of the public hearing.
The village has already received three waiver requests, but this is the first request to be submitted to the city.
The Gerritys always had a dream of living in the mountains, according to their proposal, and the family relocated to Lake Placid from Las Vegas after purchasing their home on Juniper Circle last November. The Gerritys said in their application that their jobs as producers of music and sporting events require travel, and the couple said they are bringing their two young children with them due to a lack of childcare here.
The couple’s application says they were unable to apply for an STR permit prior to the moratorium because their wood stove ruptured and they needed to replace it “Provide for the prescribed chimney cleaning/chimney inspection.” According to the application, the installation of a new furnace was delayed due to problems in the material supply chain.
Code Enforcement Officer Mike Orticelle said the Gerritys could have been approved for an STR permit with a cracked oven, with the caveat that the oven could not be used by renters.
The Gerritys’ filing states that they do not intend to rent the home more than is necessary to cover the cost of the owner-occupied home.
The Gerritys’ variance motion includes a brief financial analysis of the family’s projected financial losses under the moratorium. The Gerritys estimated that the mortgage and utilities on their home cost $3,000 a month, and the Gerritys estimated that being able to rent out their home as an STR would likely bring in $3,000 a month, offsetting those expenses .
The Gerritys were there too “non-reimbursable business travel expenses” as losses in the analysis, ranging from a loss of $3,500 to more than $7,000 per month.
Three of the four months the Gerritys listed in their financial analysis as travel months in which they would use their home as an STR – June, October and November – would not apply to their case as the moratorium ends in September. The city council does not plan to vote on the couple’s proposal until next month, according to City Mayor Derek Doty. The only month in the couple’s financial analysis that would fall under the moratorium is July, when the couple estimates they would lose $3,000 if they weren’t allowed to rent out their home.
Tim Gerrity presented his case during the local council’s public hearing at Nordelba Town Hall on Tuesday and his wife Jill attended the hearing online. Gerrity mentioned that her family home would be marketed as a family-friendly STR with cribs and toys.
Councilor Emily Kilburn Politi asked Tim how often and for how long the family travels. Tim estimates that they are on the road between 10 and 14 days a month in the summer and less in the winter.
Councilman Jason Leon asked if the couple knew one existed “immediate” STR moratorium when they bought their house in November. Tim said they had, but he claimed they couldn’t get the permit sooner because they were having trouble replacing their wood-burning stove and getting it approved by an inspector, as stated in the couple’s application.
There was some speculation at the hearing as to whether the Gerritys had approached the Department of Works and Planning for approval before the moratorium. Tim said he thought he and Jill got in touch “multiple times” to the Ministry, and the couple thought they needed to include the inspection of their furnace in their final application for an STR permit; Orticelle said Thursday he doesn’t think the Gerritys have contacted his department.
A member of the public, Don Scammell, personally attended the meeting and commented on the Gerritys’ proposal. He said the moratorium was public knowledge and he thought of the Gerritys “should have stood in front of it”
While the in-person public hearing for the Gerritys’ variance motion ended Tuesday, the city is still accepting public comment on the motion through Wednesday, June 14. People can email their comments to Town Clerk Laurie Curtis Dudley at [email protected]
According to Doty, the City Council plans to vote on the variance motion at its next regular board meeting on Tuesday, July 5 at 5:30 p.m.
Councilman Dick Cummings was absent from Tuesday’s public hearing or board meeting.
Dudley said Thursday the city has not received any additional requests for moratorium waivers.
While a notice for Tuesday’s public hearing was not filed on the city’s website or elsewhere online, Dudley did file a public notice, which was published in the May 24 issue of Enterprise. Dudley said she also posted a notice on the bulletin board at North Elba Town Hall.
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