Short-term rentals are economic engine
Dear Editor: Re “Cuomo signs law cracking down on short-term rentals in NY state,” Oct. 21, 2016: The city of Kingston planning chief, Suzanne Cahill, explained to me as I forayed into the flexible, short-term rental business as an entrepreneur: “No one can dictate to a building owner how long you can rent, whether it is one year, five years or a weekend or a day. It is your building.”
This informed my emerging enterprise offering short-term accommodation to cultural creators, business travelers and weekend adventure seekers in Kingston, Woodstock and Phoenicia. Ulster County Executive Mike Hein, Comptroller Elliott Auerbach, Chamber of Commerce President Ward Todd, Economic Development Director Suzanne Holt and many others in Ulster County congratulated me and wished me all the best for my new start up.
When I created the Phoenicia Festival of the Voice, we needed to find lodging for a large number of singers, musicians and technicians, and our community rallied to provide rooms in their homes, cabins and apartments. Later, I moved my family to Kingston to start the Kingston Festival of the Arts and again needed to house cultural creatives. I also noticed the burgeoning film activity in the area, also requiring flexible accommodations.
Over the past three or four years, I have had the pleasure of hosting many creative work teams, most recently production companies from three indie movies, as well as a technical team from Kentucky for several months on assignment with Time Warner Cable assisting with their digital roll-out. I have also hosted numerous visitors in my Woodstock and Phoenicia rentals, usually young couples visiting the area for two or three days for a romantic escape to the countryside where they love to hike, eat at local restaurants, visit local stores, attend cultural events and festivals and relax in nature.
Short-term rentals of houses, cabins, rooms and apartments have always been part of the rich and storied history of our area, contribute enormously to economic development and have peacefully and safely existed alongside hotels, bed-andbreakfasts and resorts. The only difference now is that they are online, just as every other business in the world is.
Kerry Henderson, Woodstock