The case for short-term rentals

Airbnb owners meet in Crawford

By Jared Castañeda
Posted 4/24/24

Crawford residents crowded the town hall last Thursday, April 18 to learn about the current status of short-term rentals, properties that have sparked divisive discussion among owners and their …

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The case for short-term rentals

Airbnb owners meet in Crawford


Crawford residents crowded the town hall last Thursday, April 18 to learn about the current status of short-term rentals, properties that have sparked divisive discussion among owners and their residents. Since the town currently does not permit short-term rentals, several Airbnb owners asked the board to discuss the matter at its latest meeting, serving as a stepping stone for a much larger public hearing to be held in May.

Dyer Halpern, a managing partner of Delve PLLC, spoke on behalf of several rental owners who recently received notices of violation from the town’s building department. He requested that the board consider fair and reasonable regulations for these owners when drafting the town’s short-term rental policy.

“They want to be able to comply in a reasonable manner, something that’s not overly restrictive and overly difficult,” Halpern said. “They don’t want clauses like ‘you have to live in the house while there are guests,’ because honestly, nobody wants that.’”

Halpern asserted that short-term rentals like Airbnb augment Crawford’s tourism and economy. Not only do rental guests provide revenue to businesses and events, but the rental owners also pay hotel tax rates to the county and hire local services like cleaning staff, landscapers, and caterers.

“Short-term rentals pay taxes but don’t use your schools, they don’t use a lot of the things that people who live here actually use. You can also charge permanent fees to short-term rental owners,” he said. “On top of that, the tourism of Ulster County just upped their hotel rate from 2% to 4%. Short-term rentals pay hotel tax, so it actually brings a lot more money into the county as well.”

Halpern also addressed the two biggest concerns involving short-term rentals: raises in property taxes and disturbances caused by noisy guests. He argued that rentals alone do not increase property taxes and that their owners offset potential increases by supporting local services. The residents who run these services receive revenue from the rental owners, thus allowing them to continue living in the town.

“We employ people from Crawford and Shawangunk, so the money is going to people who live in houses around here, who then pass it on to their kids, giving them a better chance to buy properties within the town,” he said. “Short-term rentals employ lots of local residents and increase the likelihood that they stay in the town.”

Regarding disturbances, Halpern assured that rental owners share similar fears and go to great lengths to ensure their guests would be good neighbors, whether through screening or blacklisting problematic clients.

“We’re terrified about that; every short-term rental’s biggest concern is being a good neighbor,” he said. “Airbnb just implemented a no-party policy, so they’re kicking people off their platforms.”


Nancy Duryea, a resident and secretary of the town’s planning board, raised several rebuttals to Halpern’s arguments. She stated that Crawford is not a destination town and that most short-term guests, especially students, rent these properties specifically to throw parties and other grand gatherings.

“This is not like going to a lake or the ocean or anywhere else. People come here mostly for parties; they have weddings, bridal showers, all kinds of people,” she said. “You also have college kids, and they rent these things out and have massive parties where they bring in all kinds of people.”

She argued that long-term tenants provide the same benefits as short-term rentals, such as business revenue and beautification, without the issues that the latter poses.

“Long-term tenants would do the same thing, but they’re in the house as the owner of the house. Same thing for fixing up a derelict property, we have people that do that already,” she said. “We don’t need short-term rental to accomplish what you’re talking about.”

Duryea also pointed out that short-term rentals make it much harder for their neighbors to sell their properties, as many buyers do not wish to live next to these rentals due to their potential disturbances.

“When you go to sell your house, you’re going to have to disclose whether there are any Airbnbs around your neighborhood. That’s going to hurt you if you’re trying to sell your house, she said. “I see no benefit to the town or the residents.”

Linda Zwart, a resident and chairwoman of the town’s planning board, supported Duyrea’s points and reiterated that Crawford is not a vacation spot. She asserted that, despite rental owners’ efforts to minimize disturbances, many guests use short-term rentals for parties and the like, often to the detriment of their neighbors.

“I’ve stayed in Airbnbs when I go to a destination when I go to Florida and I’m two blocks from the beach. I think we’re not that community, we’re a community that if people are coming here, a lot of times they’re coming here for a wedding or family event,” Zwart said. “I want to know who my neighbors are and I don’t want to live next door to these rentals.”

“On the weekends, you have people there, being loud, being outside,” she continued, commenting on disturbances. “I don’t care if it’s three in the afternoon or 11 p.m. I’m still going to be irritated.”

At the end of the discussion, Supervisor Charles Carnes stated that he and the board would not make any decisions on their short-term rental policy that night or any time soon. The board will continue researching and listening to residents’ feedback as it drafts its policy and prepares for a public hearing set for next month.

“There’s no imminent decision made on this. We’re doing research, we’ve gotten various opinions, and we’ll continue to make everybody aware of what we’re going to do here,” Carnes said. “Obviously if there’s a law, there’s a public hearing, so we’ll chat it over and we’ll consider it.”