Vernon council tables short-term rental ordinance

Vernon. The Vernon Township Council, at the urging of the public, did not adopt is proposed short-term rental ordinance and plans to hold a workshop – open to the public – to get more information on the matter from the public.

28 Jan 2020 | 03:47

The Vernon Township council tabled its proposed short-term rental ordinance after township residents on both sides of the issue aired their concerns on Monday.

Residents in both the condos and Highland Lakes complained to the council about guests who come to residential areas with vacation mindsets that have no investment in the area.

Tom Kean, who moved to the condos two years ago after retiring as a police officer, a single father raising two daughters said he lives next door to a short-term rental.

He said the adjacent unit has hosted beer parties, urinating and defecating in the parking lot and even a pornographic movie was filmed there.

“So far, with every weekend that passes, the quality of life has been deteriorating,” Kean said.

Mike and Judy Maniscalco of Highland Lakes said they live on a corner lot and have a short-term rental property both next door and across the street.

At one point, Judy Maniscalco said a New York state police detective came looking for someone who had rented one of the houses. She also said they have had to invest $500 because out-of-town guests have knocked over their mailbox and drove on the lawn.

"They have zero vested interest in our area, our neighbors and our neighborhood,” she said. “We witnessed parties until the early morning hours.”

John McNally of Highland Lakes has operated a short-term rental in the township for years. He said he advertises to families with children. Some of his rules include everything needs to be indoors by 10 p.m. and quiet hours need to be enforced.

He also said he turns down about a third of the people who try to rent from him.

“We want to be part of the community,” McNally said. “We don’t want our backs broken because there are bad neighbors. Bad renters should be shut down.”

Deb Miller, who operates an Airbnb at the condos, said she finds the proposed regulations “burdensome.”

She said she only allows renters with five-star reviews and she has never had a problem.

“We make money and pay tax on the money,” she said. “I don’t know how much you can regulate.”

Former councilman Patrick Curreri suggested allowing the lake communities to govern themselves.

"It occurred to me we spent the better part of two years removing transients from Legends and now we're actually legislating bringing transients back into Vernon,” he said. “It just doesn't sit right."

Robin Jenkins of Glenwood said she has had a better experience as a neighbor to a short-term rental.

Jenkins said the owner had given her cell phone number and told her to call if she had any problems. She even gave her the Airbnb telephone number.

She said the only time she called her was for a minor thing.

"That may not be everyone's experience, but I never had to use the Airbnb number until my folks had two Airbnb’s around her that didn't have great tenants," Jenkins said.

She said when she called Airbnb, the company acted quickly and told her to call the police if it got too bad, but shortly after the tenants were gone.

After hearing from the public, Shortway proposed tabling the ordinance and will schedule a workshop.

"They have zero vested interest in our area, our neighbors and our neighborhood. We witnessed parties until the early morning hours.”
Judy Maniscalco of Highland Lakes
“We want to be part of the community.We don’t want our backs broken because there are bad neighbors. Bad renters should be shut down.”
John McNally of Highland Lakes
Airbnb rental owner