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Proposed changes to Cooperstown accommodation law target nuisance B&Bs

Ken Curtis

The village of Cooperstown is floating the idea of changing its tourism accommodation law, targeting nine businesses that it says were grandfathered into the village's current rule.

Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz says the law requires people renting out their homes to visitors to stay on site so that the property is monitored. But the nine businesses don't have to follow the law.

Recently, Katz says disturbances at several of those non-conforming businesses have caused year-round residents to complain.

"Some of them have become nuisances," Katz explained. "So what we decided to do was tweak this tourist accommodation law, say non-conforming properties can continue uninterrupted, as long as everything's fine."

He says if passes, those bed and breakfasts will have to keep noise, criminal and other nuisance complaints to a minimum.

"Through a process that's really delineated, it's not on a whim," Katz said. "The village police have to be in receipt of five or more complaints in a two-year period. So, it really has to be a serious problem."

Katz says those who do cause a problem will have to close by the end of October 2017.

The mayor also says although the proposal was introduced shortly after the village's annual National Baseball Hall of Fame festivities, which brought about 48,000 people into town, it was merely a coincidence.

"It just never dawned on us. We just tend to get involved in the details of getting things done, that the idea of kind of strategically placing it, maybe that's what makes us all bad politicians around here," Katz said, laughing. "We're not really thinking about like, oh, this might cause controversy. We just kind of get buried in the details. Maybe that makes it good or bad, I don't know."