Tourism boom in Greenport creates housing issue

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Tourism in Greenport has been booming in recent years, but it has created a housing problem in its wake.

Visitors have been flocking to the area, many of whom are renting rooms and houses through websites like Airbnb.

Resident Seth Kaufman says he sees this as both good and bad.

“Businesses were empty and now businesses are full, so I'm not going to argue with people making a living,” he says.

Others in the village are very upset over short-term rentals. Three homeowners told News 12 that rental homes in their neighborhood have come with problems, including late-night parties, noise pollution, extra cars in the neighborhoods and strangers moving in and out of homes all summer.

Village trustee Mary Bess Phillips said the board is considering changes to its rental laws since some out-of-towners have started buying homes in Greenport for the sole purpose of renting them to tourists.

“People want to invest in buildings to make it more of a hotel/motel situation, which is devastating to communities,” she said.

Noah Schwartz, the chef-owner of a popular downtown restaurant, says short-term rentals are a mixed bag for business owners. They bring in more customers, but they also take living spaces that chefs, waiters and other seasonal workers used to count on.

“One of the things we've looked into to try to fight this growing issue is to own a piece of real estate where we could house our seasonal staff,” said Schwartz.

Still, others who live in Greenport say there's an easy compromise – allow short-term rentals but require permits.

The village recently held a public hearing on its rental laws and a new law could be voted on this summer or fall.

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