City of Kingston planning chief, Suzanne Cahill, said 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 travellers and weekend adventure seekers in Kingston, Woodstock and Phoenicia. 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 and called upon the goodwill of the community- including the Old Dutch Church who accommodated the cast of “The Other Mozart” which played for two weekends during the Kingston Festival. I also noticed the burgeoning film activity in the area also requiring flexible accommodation. These experiences gave me the idea for creating a more formal structure for offering short term rentals to meet the growing need in the area.
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, who set up their production headquarters in my “Studio 286” in Uptown Kingston for six weeks each time, 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 the love to hike, eat at local restaurants, visit local stores, attend cultural events and festivals and relax in nature. Ulster Savings Bank partnered with my new business providing a commercial mortgage to get things started.
Safety and noise regulations are already in place whether a rental is on a long term or short term basis. All rentals must adhere to the same fire and other safety regulations and police deal with noisy neighbors. In Kingston landlords owning short and longer term rentals are required to register with the city , and in New Paltz and Woodstock all rentals both short and longer term are inspected for safety compliance once a year.
Nobody can dictate to a property owner how long he/she is able to rent a property as all safety and neighborhood concerns are already addressed with existing laws.
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 and breakfasts and resorts. The only difference now is that they are online just as every other business in the world is. Kale Kaposhlin from Kingston’s Evolving Media Network just completed the second annual tech conference at the Ashokan Center with many New York City Tech Entrepreneurs coming to explore possibilities of relocating or expanding to the Hudson Valley-. He says “ A lot of innovative creative people want to stay where they can connect with locals- personal connection is one of the most compelling components in attracting creatives to our area” I am originally from New Zealand and my wife, Bex is from Scotland- we came to make America home, attracted by the abundant opportunities in the Hudson Valley to make dreams become reality. Here’s to the Festival of Choice!.