The Glen Cove City Council voted on Aug. 22 to ban the use of Airbnb for property rentals of less than 28 days. Council members also voted to ban the use of the Swimply phone app, which allows people to rent their pools by the hour.
The ban stems from the near-drowning of a 23-year-old man on Aug. 10 at a home on Doxey Drive. Acccording to Glen Cove police, the man, a resident of the Bronx, fell into the deep end of a pool, and was not breathing when EMS arrived. Police said that the man’s girlfriend, a 19-year-old from New Jersey, claimed he couldn’t swim.
The owners of 4 Doxey Drive had rented their pool on an hourly basis via the Swimply app, police said. One neighbor, who declined to be identified, said they were angry about the crowd that had gathered apparently for a party at the house.
“This is a quiet neighborhood,” the resident said. “Our neighbors watch out for each other, we take care of our homes, everybody’s very hard working. To have total strangers just coming through the area — it’s unsettling. They’re not friends, they’re not friends of your neighbors, they’re total strangers.”
At the City Council meeting on Aug. 22, Mayor unaware that the Swimply app was being used in the area, but asserted that “one tragedy is really enough” to justify banning it, adding, “You don’t really know who’s coming into your neighborhood.” Panzenbeck said she hoped to move swiftly to approve the ban, concerned about the safety of renters.
“We’ve had some complaints about one particular Airbnb over the last few weeks,” she said. “There have been three complaints involving the police, and the police really cannot do anything without a law like this in effect.”
Citing the case of the Brooklyn rapper Fetty Luciano, who was indicted on charges related to a shooting that injured three people at a July 2022 pool party at the Mansion at Glen Cove, and a fatal shooting that occurred in Valley Stream on Aug. 21, Councilman Jack Mancusi stated that the council’s concerns weren’t an overreaction to an isolated event, and that it was important to weigh the needs of the community.
“If we don’t put this ordinance in, it’s almost like saying then we can have a free-for-all right on your property and have parties,” Mancusi said. “That’s not good for the neighbors. So what this ordinance does is, it really protects the neighbors, so if the neighbors don’t have a problem with anything, then the police really have no reason to go there.”
Councilwoman Marsha Silverman said her first priority was safety, and she believed that hourly apps like Swimply should be banned, but she was also concerned that the council was overreaching to matters involving citizens and their property. She said that residents who want to pay for part of their vacations using short-term rentals should be allowed to do so.
City Attorney Tip Henderson noted that the council needed to determine what is best fit for the community, and that the 28-day rental law was a “place to start.”
Silverman proposed alternatives such as limiting rentals to only one per month per home, and requiring rental permits for short-term rentals. Although she said she didn’t want to wait until the next council meeting, on Sept. 26, to vote on the law, she said that having only one week to vote on the ordinance since the last pre-council meeting, which was held on Aug. 15 wasn’t enough time to properly vet the situation. She added that she hoped the council would revisit the law.
The measure to ban rentals shorter than 28 days and to ban the Swimply app, passed unanimously.