LACKAWAXEN TWP. - Concern about the possible construction of a single-family dwelling prompted a discussion at the Lackawaxen Township supervisors’ December workshop.
Gene Stephens, the president of the Tink Wig Property Owners Association said a proposed short-term rental in the community is posing a “problem.” In the community of about 800 properties, a developer wants to build an eight-family bedroom house with eight separate bathrooms to rent. Stephens has deemed this structure a “mini hotel” and a business because money will be made since they will be rented out and accommodate up to 20 people.
According to Stephens, the developer has a similar dwelling in Tafton that also accommodates 20 people. Supervisor Vice Chairman Jeffrey Shook questioned whether there are restrictions in the association for such plans. To that, Stephens answered that there is something for rentals, but it’s not defined specifically for short or long term.
Solicitor Tom Farley told Stephens that the community could use its restricted covenants or solicitor to regulate the development. Stephens replied that to do that, bylaws would have to be changed which is “almost impossible,” because of the number of homeowners in the community who have to vote for a change.
Farley responded that the “problem” is that Stephens is asking the township to regulate the entire township to address his concerns. Stephens responded that this matter goes beyond the community because of the “environmental impacts” of an eight-bedroom house needing a large septic system.
Presently, there are no regulations regarding short-term rentals, according to Shook.
Supervisor Chairman Michael Mancino said to build such a structure, the planning board would have to approve it first.
Tink Wig’s restricted covenants, Stephens said, regulates construction to a “certain degree,” but it has to be approved by an architectural committee. Because the proposed structure would be in a residential area, he questioned how it would be approved since the intent is for money and it would disturb the community. Currently, he said there are a few long-term rentals in the community.
Stephens questioned how an eight-family bedroom home with separate suites is considered a single-family home. To which, Farley responded that the “problem” is that the home meets the necessary requirements and so, the “intent” of the home is really the problem. Currently, according to Farley this matter is being discussed in the courts, but nothing has been settled yet. As the solicitor, Farley wouldn’t recommend the township “lead the way and spend the money” for the state to decide on the issue. It won’t be until the courts make a decision, that Lackawaxen Township will then make regulations, he said. With others unhappy with this issue, however, the matter is currently in a “state of flux.” Familiar with Tink Wig’s solicitor, Farley said the community should trust him as he guides them through the matter and will help them regulate their community.
The reason for the short-term rentals, Mancino said it has been learned that homeowners in the communities we’re likely once short-term renters and so, communities want to attract more.
The next Lackawaxen Township workshop is scheduled Monday, January 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the township offices on Urban Road. The regular supervisors’ meeting immediately follows.
For more meeting items, please read the Saturday print edition of The News Eagle. Thank you.