By Eli Ruiz
LIBERTY On Monday, Anne Hart of the Sullivan County Visitors Association spoke to the Town of Liberty board regarding the idea of renting homes in the community to county visitors attending major events.
Last Memorial Day weekend, May 27-29, Bethel Woods Center for For the Arts hosted a concert by the jam band Phish. The large influx of fans who made the trip to Sullivan County for the shows made lodging scarce and many were left without a place to stay. With most all motels and bed and breakfasts booked early, the Town of Bethel chose to implement a little known piece of legislation allowing residents to turn their properties into ad hoc campsites.
When reached via e-mail, Hart explained that “Town of Liberty Supervisor Charlie Barbuti had reached out to SCVA President Roberta Byron-Lockwood in regards to being proactive about what a town like Liberty might do to make out-of-town attendees at large events have a positive experience while in town.”
The idea proposed by Hart on Monday was for homeowners to rent entire homes to short-stay town visitors. In a follow-up e-mail Hart wrote, “At Mr. Barbuti’s request, Lockwood and her staff did some research on the subject and came up with a list of items that the town should consider with regard to a policy/ordinance they might enact.”
This list included legal requirements stating that anyone interested in renting out their homes should register with the state and collect sales tax, register with Sullivan County and collect a bed tax, check with their mortgage company to find out if rentals are allowed, their insurance company regarding coverage for rentals and the town about proper certificates of occupancy and any necessary permits. It was also suggested that perspective renters reach out to the State Health Department for any regulations that may need to be followed in such instances.
Supervisor Barbuti opened the meeting by recognizing former Councilwoman Lynn Killian, who coincidentally lost her November bid for supervisor to Barbuti. He thanked Killian for her eight years of service to the community, saying, “Lynn has worked constantly for the betterment of this town.”
Former Supervisor John Schmidt who couldn’t attend Monday’s meeting was recognized for his four years of service.
Also receiving recognition were Steven Schroeder, a volunteer fireman, and Bruce Cox for their actions in assisting in the rescue of a Sullivan BOCES student in a January 27 incident. The student reportedly ran off of the campus in Liberty and attempted to swim across a nearby ice covered pond. Soon after, the 18-year-old student who reportedly refused a rescue line became lethargic. Schroeder, along with State Trooper Stephen Johnstone, entered the icy waters and pulled the young man to safety before he became completely submerged, thus saving his life.
Barbuti said of the daring rescue, “These are the types of things we need to recognize around here.”
Joint meeting set
Plans for a joint meeting between the Town Planning Board, Zoning Board, Code Enforcement Officer and the Town Board were discussed.
The meeting will take place at Town Hall on April 24 at 6 p.m. to discuss means to improve communication between the four groups, how to better support one another and to ensure that they are all providing a consistent and valuable service to the Town of Liberty.
In other business…
The board approved the appointment of Sean Zigmond, George Stang and Peter Stettner as members of an Advisory Committee to the town regarding its Agricultural Plan formed in 2009. The appointment of this committee represents the second step of enforcing the comprehensive plan.
The board accepted the resignation of Diane Deutsch as Planning Board Chairman. “Deutsch sold her home and will be leaving the area but would like to remain on the board while still a town resident,” said Barbuti, calling the resolution, “The Planning Board Shuffle,” with the second half of said “shuffle” being the appointment of Lynn Dowe as Planning Board chairman for a term expiring December 31, 2012.