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March 13, 2018

To Be or Not to Be a “Representative” Under Village Anti-Renters Code

Trustee Bob Rosenberg finally got his anti-renters Ordinance passed albeit without the 16 day minimum which would have de facto all but eliminated most summer rentals. Strange, as 4 years ago when Bob first ran for office, one of his planks was to have a weekender on the Board – to represent short term “residents” interests. I digress; at my and Bob’s age that happens. Speaking of age, I think it’s time for all ‘baby-boomers’ to no longer sit in office. Give the roles to younger minds more in touch with current reality. Our monthly dais looks like a bingo row at a nursing home.

The Ordinance requires a homeowner to appoint a “Representative” to do what -- the Ordinance doesn’t say, but I suppose to interface with renters and our Chief of Code Police/staff.

Reasons Why a Person Would Agree to be a Renter’s Ordinance Representative:
1. You are on daily doses of Thorazine.
2. You think Monty Python and his Silly Walk bureaucrats (? our Administration’s model) was a serious British drama.
3. You are willing to be sued by disgruntled renters for Invasion of Privacy.
4. You want to get a neat badge as an auxiliary “noise control officer”.
5. – 10 more, but you get the idea.

Seriously, any person asked to be a rented house Representative should require:
1. A salary of $1000 per week (risk and hassle pay).
2. A contract whereby the lessor hiring you agrees to fully indemnity you and hold you harmless for any legal liability and legal fees and expenses incurred as a result of performing your role.
3. A contract which permits you the right to enter the rental property including bedrooms anytime of the day or night. This provision should also be duplicated in the lease signed by the renters.
4. Clarify how/when your home address or phone numbers disclosed to the Village may be used (I suspect the Code Police will be calling these Reps ad nauseam.)
5. Confirm with your insurance company if your umbrella policy will still cover you if you are deemed to be acting in a municipal role (I suspect NOT).
6. – 10 get the idea ?

The Ordinance requires these Reps to be within 4 miles of Village Hall. Our bloody ambulances are farther away! How much help does the Code Police force need to do their job?

I (and I bet most trustees) have not read the entire what 30-ish pages of this Ordinance, but I was told it DOES NOT contain a NOISE CONTROL provision. Could that be true after more than 2.5 years of dealing with Bob’s rent control idea? If it is true, don’t pay the law firm drafting it. Also, summaries of the Ordinance excludes nieces, nephews and domestic partners as “immediate family”, so your sister’s kids cannot come, nor your son or daughter’s mate with whom they may be living for years. Send those brats and hussy to a motel, says our spanking new Bellport law. Please, you cannot make this narrow-mindedness up by yourself; it comes from Monty Python and his Board. Hence, again my call for these old baby-boomers to resign and “go fishing”.

In the meantime, two weeks we had the 4th horrible collision on SoCoRd by the golf course and So. Howells Point in five years. 2.5 agonizing years messing on Bob’s anti-renter’s law. Zilch on in town speeding. Good Job Boys; you sure are earning your salaries.

Will Struyk
Bellport, NY



Editor's Note: Click here for the Editorial referred to in the letter below.

March 6, 2018

Re: Editorial on the South Country Ambulance Building, 20 December 2017

You made the following claims in your article,

1) A small group opposed to the new building caused the project to be delayed for two years.
2) The original project was re-evaluated and scaled down.
3) The re-evaluation contributed to the delay.
4) The cost of the project increased because of delays.

None of this is true.

1) There is no evidence that a "small group" in any way hindered the Town from proceeding with this project. Time was spent evaluating potential locations and acquiring the land. There was never any court-ordered stay against the project.

2) The Town Board approved the original project in October 2015, based on plans presented by Mr. Miglino in June of that year. According to the plans, which were presented in Power Point and with no dimensions, the building would occupy 26,000 sq ft. Before voting on the bond issue in October, the Board produced a "Feasibility Study" (with NO drawings of the new building) to support the need for an increase to 29,000 sq ft.

As far as one can tell, the plans from 2015 are identical to the plans released for bid in 2017. The building will have a First Floor, Mezzanine, and Second Floor totaling 26,000 sq ft. The same as Mr. Miglino's original. This does not include the 3,900 sq ft basement or the 4,400 sq ft attic! (Fun fact, you could fit the current Mastic Beach Ambulance Headquarters in the attic of this place.) This project was never "scaled down".

3) The "delay" to be considered is the time between the two cost estimates, the first in October 2015 and the second in November of 2017. The project was not re-evaluated after October 2015, so re-evaluation did not contribute to the delay.

4) In June 2015, the architect estimated he could build the 26,000 sq ft building for $400/sq ft. The cost increase of 20% approved in 2017 implies a new, inflated rate of around $480/sq ft. Construction for a new Mastic Beach Ambulance Building began in September 2017. That building is going to cost $390/sq ft, not $480. At the Board Meeting in December 2017, the architect admitted he recently built a fire station for $380/sq ft. What's going on here?

At the December Meeting, Supervisor Romaine announced that the Mayor of Bellport and a Village Trustee would be speaking in support of the new building. That didn't happen. Instead, the attorney for the ambulance company read a message from Mr. Trotta. He tells the same tale that Mr. Miglino and Mr. Romaine have been telling for close to three years, i.e. that the ambulance taxes we pay now are low, and that the new building is going to cost "pennies per day". Let's be clear. The South Country Ambulance District's annual assessment of $1.7 million is the highest of any of the nine ambulance districts in Brookhaven. It looks like our assessment is going to go up to $2.6 million, a 56% increase which is going to be on our backs for the next 20 years. Should we live that long.

Kim Woodle
Bellport Village



March 1, 2018

Response to Mary Butler's Op-Ed

First let me say Mary Butler and Don are neighbors with whom I have a very cordial relationship. I respect her very much. But I oppose the anti—summer rental code as invasive to property rights and even undue process toward would be property owners who rent (I hope Lee Sneed weights in on that.)

Perhaps Mary was unduly influenced by babble from an Elmer Fudd trustee and (as one old timer calls him) our Attorney Foghorn Leghorn.

Sadly, this anti-rentaL ordinance is COMPLETELY CONTRARY TO THE CONCEPT OF PRESERVATION OF BELLPORT’S HISTORY. Perhaps Mary doesn’t have a copy of the wonderful booklet published in 2002 by the archivist Victor Principe of the Bellport Brookhaven Historical Society called “Images of America: Bellport Village and Brookhaven Hamlet” which contains multiple photos of summer guest houses in the Village. “By the mid 19th century Bellport was fast becoming a summer resort as visitors from the city discovered its natural attractions.”

p. 9 the 4-story Bellhouse (Bellport Ln) “enlarged when the Bells began providing accommodations for summer visitors. The Bellhouse became known as the Mallard Inn.”

p. 10. The Bellport Hotel (now Porter’s restaurant) 3 stories plus a large 4th central tower.

p. 10 The Titus House, later known as Hampton Hall on SoCoRd, a boarding house for 50 quests.

p. 11 The Bay House, a luxury hotel build in 1871 on Bellport Ln. where the Bandshell now stands). This was also rented out by the Jewish Working Girls Vacation Society and by the J.P.J. Naval Academy as a summer camp.

p. 12. The Goldwaite Inn (later the Grasspatch Hotel) at the hilltop on Browns Lane.

p. 12, 13, 14 The Wyandotte Hotel was opposite the Grasspatch on Raynor Lane.

p. 117 The Washington Lodge on SoCoRd and the Edgewater Inn near Sqaussux Landing in Brookhaven Hamlet.

So you see, this two year pet project of a trustee (with mild support from our Mayor) is in utter violation of the history of our Village. The Mayor cited 9 letters he’d received and only some of them about noise. Can you image the Village in the 1800’s with hundreds of summer renters? Our board members would all be jumping like angry Yosemite Sams, two pistols blasting. What this proponent Trustee and my friend Mary are doing is dynamiting Bellport’s wonderful history as a seaside town hosting visitors.

Mary says it’ll be up to our Code Enforcement guys to run around keeping noise down (they failed with less than 9 complaints last year apparently) and fining people left and right. Good luck with that anticipation. Maybe if the Village Clerk fires all of the current staff and hires snarly-in-your-face-SOB’s banging on your door. That’s what’s being asked for it seems.

And Mary expects the Village Judge also to enforce the new anti-renting code. Well I suspect he and the Village Attorney will be EQUALLY busy defending the Village by residents suing singly or by class the Board for violations of their rights as property owners and violations of due process. John K. you better BUDGET for large litigation expenses next month if this stupid code gets passes, as your life is going to be much more miserable.

Will Struyk
Bellport, NY



January 23, 2018

Have Code Enforcement Do It

At the Village monthly meeting Monday Jan 22, I think it easy to say the majority of comments were against the proposed, lengthy new Ordinance banning renting one's house during the summer for one or two weeks. [Wonder what the legal fees are so far for drafting it?]

The Mayor said the Village had received about 9 letters on the subject. The Mayor had stated at a town meeting during his first term that he refuses to read residents' Letters to Editor on our local digital newspaper where over the last two years there have been scores of letters written by residents on the topic. Curiously but so obviously no trustee said one word at the meeting [prearranged presumably but why???], other than Bob Rosenberg once said "No" while the Village Atty rambled on and on trying to answer a question from the floor.

While many arguments were presented at the meeting, one which was not but IS in a Letter to Editor on dated Jan. 22 from my neighbor Dana Buchman Farber, where she asks, ". . . if a renter is going to be obnoxious or behave illegally, there is no reason to think that such actions will begin at 16 days and not before." BRILLIANT point, Dana. The homeowner cannot guarantee the renters' behavior, and most likely the homeowner will be out of town, state, and maybe country. So --- who reacts?

That is why in my comments at the mic I tried to make the point -- between many interruptions from the Mayor --that noise complaints ALREADY LIE AT THE FEET OF CODE ENFORCEMENT. But what is needed sorely is for my friend Village Clerk John Kocay to fire the Chief of our Enforcement staff and either drop financing for that vapid position altogether and John himself simply order the Code guys "enforce all Code provisions without cronyism influence" or find someone that can get the Code guys to acted properly -- which is more than merely driving from the Gateway Theater to the golf course, up to Head of the Neck at the Cemetery, then down to the dock 700 times a day. I joked at the meeting that now their sole job prerequisite is not to get car sick. The Code guys should handle noise complaints full stop. We do NOT need a huge new ordinance with pages and pages of defined terms, which is more incomprehensible than reading your property insurance policy, to make the Code guys calm down renters or current neighbors or our own guests or unruly grandchildren. Code Enforcement ALREADY OWNS THAT RESPONSIBILITY. Just Do It. Trash that draft anti-renters ordinance which I suspect the Board members do not understand well and even the Mayor had to say twice during the meeting to residents posing questions about it "I don't know".

Will Struyk
Bellport, NY



January 22, 2018

Bellport Village Rentals

Thank you for posting your editorial regarding the rental issue in the Village. It definitely has people talking. I spoke with numerous people about the rental issue and I am surprised by the amount of misinformation or dare I say it, “fake news.” So, would you mind posting my letter, addressing what I believe to be false statements and inaccurate information.

First – weekend and one-week rentals tenants support the local business owners. I spoke with several business owners, who wish to remain anonymous, over the Christmas holidays, as I was shopping in their stores. They told me that the weekend/one-week renters do not visit their shops/businesses. Oh, maybe a t-shirt and yes, sandwiches to take to the beach, but that is it. Their best clients are (i) the second home owners that do not rent their homes as it is their home, (ii) year-round residents as they still shop in the Village (do not use Amazon Prime) and (iii) day trippers. Lets face it, people here for the weekend go to the beach, they are not shopping at the local businesses. There were long lines for the ferry, not to get into a store.

The 16 days minimum still allows people to rent their houses and the longer term renter is a better customer for the Village businesses.

And if those who rent short term, want to truly help the Village and the community as stated so often on Facebook and on, please go to the realtors here in the village and ask them to rent your houses for an annual lease. Now that will help all. You the landlord will have income to pay for your house, neighbors will have neighbors, and the Village will have residents year-round. A win win for all.

Second – the Village has not done the research necessary to implement regulations regarding rental homes

The Mayor and Trustees asked several residents, including me, to review this very topic back in 2015 and 2016. The committee held two public meetings, on Saturday mornings, to share the data we gathered. We held the meetings on Saturday mornings, so all residents could attend. I have two large binders of code from the Villages out east, along with notes taken from talking with the East End Village attorneys, building department managers and code enforcement officers about this issue and how their regulations on rentals were working. All this information was presented to the public and to the Mayor and Trustees. The Mayor and Trustees have continued to performance due diligence on this topic throughout 2016 and 2017.

All one has to do is peruse the VRBO, Home Away and Airbnb sites to realize that houses here in the Village are being purchased for the sole reason of being turned into short-term rental businesses. The investors are not buying houses to live in, but to rent during the summer months. The houses are assets of a business, not a home.

Funny thing, many who either rent their houses for income (landlord) or rent a house to party in (tenant), here in the Village on the infamous Airbnb etc...., live in NYC, where there are laws against short term rentals of less than 30 days. So those renting in the Village short term are protected against the very abuses many are experiencing here in the Village. Go figure.

Mary Butler
Bellport, NY



January 22, 2018

Against No More Weekly Rentals

I understand what you are trying do to tidy up our Bellport rental situation. I wish I could come tonight to tell you about my feelings on this but I can’t. It’s simply not fair to stop all weekly rentals as so many people with young families and people like me who are retired simply or more weeks. Not fair. Please help us.

Sarah Zacks
Bellport, NY



January 22, 2018

Proposed Short Term Rental Restrictions

We are very disheartened to hear the proposed strict regulations on rentals.

Ourselves and our neighbors have had nothing but great experiences with Airbnb and VRBO renting for anywhere from 2 to 10 days through the site. It is very simple to screen potential renters, many of which have reviews and ratings from previous renters and rentees. We are not opposed to implementing some sort of regulation, or penalty system for those with recurring complaints and issues, or those irresponsible home owners renting beyond the capacity of their home. However the 16 day minimum during high season would essentially prevent us from doing any rental on our home as we are not interested in a long term rental at this point.

We have had great guests that frequent the shops, restaurants, grocery and spend their time and money here respectfully. We even had a nice young couple who stayed with us for 3 days on the weekend and just bought a home on gerard st in the village. Not to mention how the additional income helps us pay the hefty taxes and cost of living here. Without which may not be possible to stay here full time.

We find many guests have family and friends that live here but lack the extra room to accommodate all guests or are possibly interested in moving to Bellport. Many of which do not have the luxury to stay for 16 or more days.

We ask that you please reconsider this strict ruling and allow time to come to a better understanding of the issues and a better fix that does not hurt the majority of responsible renters.

Ryan Mckinley, Shane O'Neill
Bellport, NY



January 22, 2018

Thoughts on the Rental Debate

My two cents on this rental debate:

1. How is anything less than 16 days ‘short term’? 16 days is MORE than the average annual vacation time for most Americans (10 days) and 4 days is the average vacation length. When did a family wanting a relaxing week away become the enemy?
2. Bellport is the un-Hamptons, but now we are saying unless you can afford to pay for 16 nights or more, you are not welcome here (I can’t think of a more Hamptons attitude!) The irony is that may of us could not afford to rent our own home for the proposed 16 days.
3. Has any research been done to determine 16 days as the magic number that guarantees good behavior? Or is it just a spiteful way to eliminate rental opportunities?

4. AirBnB/Vrbo/HomeAway are safe, well regulated platforms. And I'm sure many who are PRO- RESTRICTIONS actually use the sites for their own short-term vacations. What will happen if the new rule is implemented? Some residents will continue to use these sites to source renters, then complete the deals off the sites. More risk, but it will be undetected by the village.

5. Could some of the ‘people you don’t recognize’ be people who have recently purchased? Or a Brookhaven resident? Or a guest of a resident? Not everyone who is unknown is a renter.

6. While so much of the discussion is focused on the 16 day rule, the actual proposal is quite hardcore, involving registration, inspections, floor plans, fees. Navigating this is potentially difficult and expensive. And who’s paying for the inspectors (another increase in taxes?). And if we are inspecting homes, shouldn’t ALL homes be inspected? Surely we want non-renters to have safe/to-code homes too (why just protect the renters??)

7. This whole argument completely eliminates the possibility for many full time residents to rent. While a week long rental could co-incide with their own vacation, where is the resident to go for 16 days? If they don’t have a ‘second home’ they have nowhere to go. The weekend resident rents for 16 days, loses 4 days at their house but gains a nice rental fee.

8. For those who say this WON’T affect home value, look at Manhattan. All things being equal, who would take a co-op (heavily regulated, limited rental potential) over a CONDO (more freedom). This is why condos are in most cases priced significantly higher than co-ops of similar size/style.

9. Given this issue is so heated, what if we shelved it for the season, put those with complaints against them on notice and see how this season goes. As those with complaints are likely to suffer along with the rest of us (more so!), perhaps this will act as a wake up call to them.

I am against the rental regulations. Once enforced there is zero incentive to relax them.

Natalie Haynes
Bellport, NY



January 22, 2018

Rent Regulation Proposal

I am writing about the proposed regulation regarding rentals. Like many of you, I was drawn to Bellport because of its vibrant community, accessible nature and activities, and tranquil lifestyle. I am in favor of norms and policies that enable us to continue to enjoy all seasons here. However, this proposal goes too far. I believe we will regret applying this heavy-handed solution for issues that can be addressed more precisely, and therefore more effectively.

Why regret?
For one, we will limit many people we want to visit from doing so with the proposed regulation, including the 16-day rule and many hassles (fees, applications, inspections). For example, the occasions that I rent, I typically do so to families who grew up here and need extra space while visiting, or friends of residents who want to vacation closer to loved ones. Similarly, I have rented from neighbors when my family is in town. And many of us rented shorter term in Bellport before deciding to move here. Most of these welcome guests cannot stay for 16 days each time they visit, which will prohibit them in the summer, and discourage them in the off-season (even for a friend, who wants to go through all these unnecessary, time-consuming steps?)

There are many more reasons why this regulation could backfire and harm us. And it comes at a time when the new tax law will increase costs, and the occasional rentals are even more needed.

How to move forward?
I’ve spoken with a number of residents, and every one of them wants to arrive at a solution for our community to continue its tranquility. However, to create an optimal solution, we first need to be clear about what we are trying to achieve. Is this to reduce the occasional yet frustrating noise incidents? Limit number of non-residents using beach facilities? Other goals?

Any concern has a specific lever we can apply to precisely target undesired behaviors. A broad-based intensive regulation of rentals will only solve some—not all—of the cases of the issues above, while causing larger unintended pain points for everyone (including the cost to implement this regulation, which would be far greater than other solutions). If the problem is noise, we want to discourage homeowners and tenants alike from disrupting neighbors and we can craft a policy to allow for occasional celebrations while also enforcing consequences for repeat offenders. Similar policies can be found for any other issue deemed important by the community.

I look forward to having a dialogue with the trustees and other community members tonight. I am sympathetic to wanting to solve a problem that has created headaches for those in leadership roles. However, rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater, let’s clearly and openly define our concerns and find the targeted solutions that will effectively resolve them.

Alissa Fishbane
Bellport, NY



January 22, 2018

Proposed Rental Guidelines

We have been enjoying the wonders of Bellport for over 35 years and spent parts of every summer here since 1983 when we first discovered the charms of its friendly open spirited residents and the welcoming atmosphere they created here. For most of those years we wished we could afford to buy a home here but had to contend ourselves with being mere Summer renters for a few weeks or a month at a time, or off season visitors to the friends we had made in the village over the years. Without their ability to rent to us easily over those 25 years or so, we would never have developed the deep attachment to the Village that we did.

Finally, in 2008 we had saved enough money to be able to contemplate buying our own place, and thanks to the helping hands of the Old Purchase Realty folks and other Bellport agencies who had been helping us, as well as the friends we had made here we found our home. But even with having enough money to purchase, (now of course much more expensive than when we had started coming to Bellport), the only way we could contemplate purchasing was knowing that it would be relatively easy for us to rent out our home for a month or two each summer to help defray the expense of the high property taxes here.

We have rented out our home several times now and there has never been a problem or incident of any kind. The prices charged for the short term rentals are sufficiently high to only be affordable to people of means and responsibility. The real estate agents in town do an excellent job of due diligence before showing any potential renters our property and we believe that the Village can continue to count on them as a first line of defense against any harm to anyone living here.

In addition, we have been one of the homes that the Gateway playhouse has used to help affordably house Equity actors from New York City to participate in their productions. Without the help of these cheap short term rental properties, the Gateway might not be able to mount the the talented productions they do and which are an invaluable tourist attraction to the Village.

My wife and I are now retired and without the ability to occasionally rent our Bellport home we might soon be forced to have to sell our property here. I don’t believe that we are alone in facing this potential dilemma. I do not believe that the board intends to have as a consequence of these proposed regulations, a flood of properties suddenly put on the market, potentially reducing the property values of all of its residents. We join with our friends in asking the board to seriously reconsider the proposals that have been made, in favor of much simpler, less onerous regulations. Thank you.

Harvey Waldman and Camilla Toniolo
Bellport, NY



January 22, 2018

New Rental Code

My wife and I used to spend weekends at friends who own property in the Village. We loved it to the point that last year we decided to make the jump and buy a house in the Village. Bellport Village truly is a privileged place, a well-kept secret that we all want to keep as safe, peaceful and vibrant as possible. The Bellport community is also what makes it very special. Every day that we spend here, we have been amazed by the kindness of our neighbors and other people of the community.

It came to our attention that the Village was trying to regulate further short-term rentals. I understand that there has been some abuse and that residents are worried about the preservation of their quality of life. There were 8 complaints last year, 4 of which came from the same house. Repeated abuses are not acceptable. The good news is that this seems to be an isolated problem. While some regulation is needed, I believe the 16 days rule and having the Village approve guests is not the right solution. While being very restrictive, it offers not guarantee to even prevent abuses from happening again while presenting significant risks to the Village ecosystem. It could lead to more complaints, a decrease in house prices, a significant loss of business for local businesses and people whose job depend on rentals and a fall in tax revenue (so a tax increase for residents).

I am also surprised by the board proposition to want to validate each and every guest out of season. To what criteria? Aren’t they concerned that it would actually take responsibility away from homeowners and shift liability to them?

Some people in the Village seem to have a skewed view that people who utilize Airbnb are slick investors with no care for the village, whereas most actually seek to support the village while occasionally subsidizing costs when necessary. Restricting the duration to a minimum of 16 days would deprive some of them of the necessary income to keep their property in a presentable order and/or do renovations. It could lead to more “abandoned” looking houses in the Village and push some owners to sell their house with less buyers to buy them, which would drive prices down in the village. It could lead to more complaints as popular short term rental websites offer safe well-regulated tools to screen for good people. Locals who occasionally rent in the summer will be the most impacted as they cannot rent for the month. While we try to not be the Hamptons, a 16-day rule would definitely change the Village summer crowd to a more Hampton one...

It looks like a more reasonable code would have been enough to make everybody happy. It should be enough that if renters are breaking the law or are being extremely anti-social, the Village police should be called. The new code should punish offenders and otherwise let everyone else be.

David Huet
Bellport, NY



January 22, 2018

New Limitations on Renting

We are longtime owners in Bellport, love the community and want it to continue to be a warm, comfortable and safe environment. We have never rented our house and have no plans to. But we do feel strongly that the proposed regulations are, first and foremost, unnecessary and second, intrusive.

Just as I feel responsible to some extent for the behavior of anyone I invite to stay at my home, I would feel responsible for the behavior of anyone I would rent to. There is no way I can absolutely guarantee that longer-term renter (or even a short-term guest, for that matter) will not behave obnoxiously. But I will make sure to select wisely both renter and guest to minimize that possibility. If either should break the law, then the authorities will step in, as they do in all cases--owner, renter or guest.

By the way, if a renter is going to be obnoxious or behave illegally, there is no reason to think that such actions will begin at 16 days and not before. There is also no guarantee that a property owner won't do the same!)

For the village to implement pointless, unproven, unwarranted rules on the renting of one's home is, pardon the strong word, reprehensible. The impetus to do so springs from a nameless anxiety that is in the air in our nation and the world. It should be identified as general anxiety and not the rational thinking through of a wonderful, intelligent community.

Bellport neighbors and representative, I thank you for your concern and efforts in this matter. And sincerely hope that you will reconsider this proposal.

Dana Buchman Farber
Bellport, NY



January 18, 2018

New Ambulance Bldg. = Slower Response Time

I wish to add to recent letters from Anne Hayes and John Beitel criticizing the $15.7 Million new complex for So. Co. Ambulance Co. (“SCA”) financed over 20 years, so taxpayers’ grandchildren will be paying for it.

Also criticized is the dumbfounding location near a railroad station. When a train approaches Station Road the guard rails descend 2 minutes for a passing train and about 4-5 minutes when the train stops at Bellport Station. There are over 20 trains east or west per 24 hours, posing potential deadly delays in response time for someone who has had a heart attack or stroke.

Also observe massive flatbed trucks coming and going from the nearby ceptic pool factory struggling to turn at Station and Beaver Dam, sometimes needing to back up and try again -- leaving the intersection for the new ambulance complex blocked for a second reason.

Folks, there is a 3rd significant DELAY IN RESPONSE TIME REASON which I don’t recall being discussed much. SCA’s equipment is now housed IN TWO, NOT ONE, TWO LOCATIONS: they rent 4 bays at the former Hagerman Fire House in East Patchogue. That is a solid brick building with a roof rebuilt approx. 15 years ago I understand from a Suffolk Co. fireman. The SECOND location is in Brookhaven Hamlet behind the Brookhaven fire house. SCA has a grey building there with two garage bays and an office located at the intersection of Bridge Place and Seeley Street.

SCA’s work area runs approximately from Montauk Hwy at William Floyd Pkwy to Brookhaven Hamlet, Bellport, and East Patchogue up to Hagerman. Now SCA has good response time, as low as 5 or 6 minutes. That is because the ambulances housed in the Hamlet on Seeley St. can respond to Brookhaven and Southaven, while the equipment housed in Hagerman on Dunton can quickly get to calls in East Patchogue, and either location for Bellport. If the new Taj Mahal $15.7 MILLION + Interest Complex is built (with a meeting hall for one hears 300 people !!!! , a kitchen, exercise gym, sauna, BBQ, whatever) -- that means all calls will be responded to from the clog-able intersection of Station Rd/Beaver Dam Rd at the LIRR station. Surely that will add precious minutes to getting to one’s house. Bad news for residents in our 3 communities: increased taxes for ambulance service each year as the interest continues on the debt, plus double or more probable response time while a loved one may be dying on the floor.

If anyone has the ability to get this concern to Supervisor Romaine, please do as he seems to have brushed past criticisms of this boondoggle project under the rug. Shakespeare wrote in his play Hamlet: “Something is rotten in the State of Denmark”. Is that criticism of government processes applicable here Mr. Supervisor?

Wm. Struyk
Bellport, NY



January 16, 2018

Short Term Rentals Editorial Comments

Larry, Loved what you had to say about Bellport Village rental possibilities. I sympathize with the Board in coming to a conclusion on this matter . Increased tourism may help our village merchants financially and in turn create an active business district for our locals all year round. Additionally, they may also increase the vibrancy of our community, I agree with what many of our major tri- state newspapers have printed in that “we are LI’s best kept secret as the "Un Hamptons". I sort of like it that way ! We have the best of most worlds here right now. We attract people who appreciate the quaintness of our village as well as those willing to contribute to it in maintaining it’s historical significance as well as it’s eco friendly atmosphere in a time of development for financial gain in other places( you know how they say," you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone they paved paradise to put up a parking lot”). I feel for the most part as you stated, people renting for less that 14 days can stay at a hotel ,which we have many of in close proximity. I question any one”s investment in the community staying here for less than that. I saw what happened to Ocean Beach Maryland when their beautiful community was inundated with 1 week rentals . Often it was people (young kids like spring breakers ) looking for a party house near the beach. The consequences to not only the community but to the landlords outweighed the benefits. I say that if you really enjoy Bellport for Bellport, come stay awhile, at least 2 weeks or buy property here, we would love to have people who love Bellport as much as we do !!

Madonna Pidgeon
Bellport, NY



January 16, 2018

I'm Mad as Hell and Not Gonna Take it Anymore!

Your editorial written about the proposed 16 day short term limit really pisses me off.

You seem to buy into this notion that big government will solve the problems of our community. You couldn't be more hopelessly wrong!

I rented my house in Bellport Village, it was successful, I screened the tenants, informed them of the rules and regulations of the Village, acted as their liaison between them and the community. The tenants shopped in our Village, ate and drank in our local restaurants, shopped at Cirrillo's IGA and yes they enjoyed the beach. The tenants behaved. They earned an online rating based on their behavior. My neighbors would certainly let me know if they didn't behave, then in turn the tenants would have earned a poor rating which would impair their ability to rent in the future in Bellport or any other community.

I don't need to rent my house on airbnb right now however if I wanted to or if I needed the money, I would like the option. Not everyone in Bellport Village is wealthy, some of us would like the option to earn a few extra bucks that would defray the cost of travel. Perhaps a Village resident would like to rent their place to earn money to reinvest in their home. The point is that it should remain the homeowner's option not the Village board's.

This notion that we have to protect Bellport from outsiders is outdated and self destructive. Many weekend renters and outsiders have reinvigorated our community.

Frankly speaking, I'm really pissed off by the deafening silence regarding the Brookhaven landfill. It's stench will eventually envelope our idyllic community if it's not stopped now!

Then Larry, the 16 day rental limit will no longer be an issue, the question will be moot.

Carlos Magill
Bellport, NY



January 16, 2018

Neighborhood Preservation Legislation (Short Term Rentals)

I want to voice my support for your proposed new legislation on short term rentals in Bellport, requiring registration and inspections. As a retired county inspector, inspections of hotels and Bed & Breakfasts, migrant farm houses, schools, camp and restaurants provide a basic level of safety to all people.

I am also in support of a minimum stay, to be tagged on to the Neighborhood Preservation legislation. In doing some research online, short term rentals during summer seasons have been restricted and legislated across this country. From Long Beach & San Francisco, California to Islip and the 5 Eastern towns, they have all set the short term rentals of 28- 30 days minimum.

The Village of Bellport Trustees original proposal of a 16 day minimum is progressive and fair, to all. In fact, I propose that you be a little more flexible and consider a 14 day minimum for those vacationers who want to spend they entire 2 week vacation in our village. With the proposed May 15 to Sept 15, window for short term rentals set, the 14 day rule gives a profiteering homeowner an addition rental, 8 possible rentals, instead of 7. A nice compromise, and it can makes vouchers for amenities easier, for village office, as they can be pre-printed, 1st through 15th, 16th through the. 31st of the month. For very short term visitors, not your problem, there is a newly built hotel less than 3 miles away.

Mr. Mayor and Village Trustees, your prime responsibility is to take care of the residents of this village and preserve our neighborhood. I applaud your Neighborhood Preservation legislation and fully support it. In my opinion, it is fair to all our residents, especially those nestled in their homes, too tired to speak against those who shout loudest at meetings or to tire to voice against the money profiteers.

Lorraine Kuehn
Bellport, NY



January 14, 2018

Support For The Village Board’s Control Of Summer House Rentals

I'm writing in support of the board's proposal to enforce some control over summer house rentals in Bellport.

Village residents want to have the option to rent out their homes as they please -- although there is such a glut of rentals on AirBnB these days that they may not succeed. At any rate, the board is not trying to stop all renting. They are trying to discourage abusive short term renters who have little regard for the quiet nature of Bellport. The board is also trying to protect residents from the extra ferry crowds of last summer - many were large renting groups.

We live on the east side of the Village in close proximity to a very decent neighbor who unfortunately lists her small home as able to sleep ten. The noise with so many people at her pool ruined entire weeks for us last summer. One group lit off fireworks -- not more than ten feet from our house. Another small home near the fire station has become a party rental house that drives neighbors crazy.

The issue here is that short term strangers who are renting don't have to respond to complaints the way residents do. If it comes down to having to call code enforcement or the homeowner, that's a sign that something is wrong. If the answer is that taxpaying homeowners should just close their windows and stay inside until the renters are gone, that's interfering with their legal right to peaceful enjoyment of their property.

At the risk of being more inflammatory, I think the village should add more to its restrictions, including a rule that a house should not be listed as able to sleep more than the amount of residents normally living there.

Maybe all these homeowners so keen on their right to rent should consider sharing their profit with their neighbors in cases when renters ruin weeks of summer that we all hold so dear?

I'm sure the meeting on Jan 22 with this issue on the table will draw vast and angry opposition to the proposed restrictions. I would encourage anyone living in close proximity to a neighbor -- especially one with a back deck or pool -- to consider the possibility of finding rowdy interim strangers next door who may not care about the residents who can hear them.

We took care in buying a house surrounded by good neighbors with small families. Now we don't know from week to week who our neighbors are. Yes, neighbors can sell and move away. You can't have any hope of controlling that. But having the crap shoot of never knowing who will be renting next door from one week to the next adds unnecessary anxiety and aggravation.

Many communities are taking action against AirBnB - which seems to have turned every homeowner into an entrepreneur without a license or oversight. Rental agents in town typically bring in the responsible kind of longer term renters more likely to be respectful.

I hope residents will give some thought to both sides of the issue before getting up in arms about individual rights to rent as they please. Sure, being open and inclusive sounds good on paper. But so does being fair to taxpayers who want to know that they are protected with solid renting regulations.

Bellport is a special place because we know each other.

Bob Morris
Bellport, NY