Short-term rentals are eco­nomic en­gine

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OPINION -

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

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