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Brookhaven Town considers limiting number of cars that can park at rental houses

Brookhaven Town HallBrookhaven Town is taking steps to restrict the number of vehicles that can be parked at a rental house.

Officials set an Oct. 1 public hearing to discuss the issue of parking at rental houses in communities such as Stony Brook, where off-campus rentals by university students have drawn concerns from residents about overcrowding.

The effort by the Brookhaven Town Board to address this issue follows concerns raised in a number of communities, including East Hampton, Southampton and Southold, where rental houses have drawn the attention of town and village officials as well as law enforcement.

If the Brookhaven resolution is adopted, town residents applying for a rental house permit would be allowed to park the same number of vehicles as bedrooms in the house, plus one, officials said. So if a rental house has three bedrooms, a maximum of four vehicles would be allowed for parking.

“This would limit the number of cars to the number of bedrooms in the house so that we won’t have a proliferation of cars parked there,” said Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine, who sponsored the resolution.

He said the purpose of the law is to prevent streets in residential neighborhoods where there are rental houses from being crowded with vehicles. Last year, town officials and Stony Brook community leaders joined forces to address concerns from residents about rental houses around the university. Some residents had complained that some houses had been rented by a dozen or more students. Town officials said then they had taken enforcement actions against dozens of properties for violating town housing codes.

Bruce Sander, leader of Stony Brook Concerned Homeowners, a civic group, said he supports the plan to limit cars. He said cars parked on streets outside rental houses often block service vehicles such as snow plows.

“It’ll take all those cars out of the street,” Sander said. “It will clean it up.”

However, Kai Li, organizer of the Coalition of Landlords and Tenants of Stony Brook, said the town proposal is “a joke” and said his group would appeal the ordinance if it is approved.

“This is another example of where the town wants to stick their noses into private matters,” Li said. “Why do you want to limit the number of people who can have autos, cars, on their properties?”

With Carl MacGowan