Cochecton updates comprehensive plan

Posted 1/17/23

COCHECTON, NY — The Town of Cochecton has drafted an update to its comprehensive plan, an update that includes draft regulations for short-term rentals and warns about an aging population.

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Cochecton updates comprehensive plan


COCHECTON, NY — The Town of Cochecton has drafted an update to its comprehensive plan, an update that includes draft regulations for short-term rentals and warns about an aging population.

A comprehensive plan is a document that outlines a municipality’s goals for the future, analyzes the current trends and factors affecting its growth, and guides a municipality’s decision-making. It represents a community’s consensus about its challenges and potential, and helps local government decisions reflect that consensus.

Cochecton wrote its comprehensive plan in 1972 and last updated it in 2011. Plans should be updated every 10 years on average, and Cochecton began work in 2021 to update its plan, partnered with local planning and research consultant Tom Shepstone.

The draft plan was released at the January 11 meeting of the town board. It will go to a public hearing on Wednesday, February 8 at 7 p.m. at the Cochecton Town Hall.

Short-term rentals

The presence of short-term rentals—homes rented out in whole or in part on sites like Airbnb or Vrbo—has grown considerably in the decade since Cochecton’s comprehensive plan received its last update.

The 2023 draft update recommends “that the town develop reasonable user-friendly regulations governing short-term vacation rentals, which are increasingly popular, support tourism and provide supplemental income for property owners but, unregulated, can negatively impact adjoining homeowners.” It includes a set of draft regulations to do that.

Every short-term rental under the draft regulations would need a license, renewed annually and specific to the owner of the rental rather than the address of the property. A local contact-person living within 10 miles of the location must be available and able to respond within an hour to any notice of violation.

A short-term rental can only hold two people per bedroom plus another two people, and must have one parking space per bedroom. Conditions exist around the storage of trash around the property, the level of noise and disturbance visitors can create, and the fire-safety measures that must be in place.

The other set of regulations included with the comprehensive plan update regulate battery-energy storage systems; these systems are used in conjunction with renewable and industrial energy facilities. The update suggests as well a number of other areas ripe for regulation, without providing specific draft regulations to address them; these include tiny homes, glamping and resort redevelopment.  


The 2023 update has information on the changing demographics of Cochecton, revised from the 2011 update. The most recent data in the update comes from 2021 from the geographic information system ESRI.

Estimates show that Cochecton is growing, with a 4.3 percent increase in population between 2010 and 2021, and growth from 1,114 to 1,213 houses during the same timeframe.

At the same time, Cochecton is aging. The town’s median age at the turn of the century was 42.1; estimates have it as 51.3 for 2021; and if trends continue, it could be as high as 65 by 2050. The number of students in the Sullivan West Central School District has dropped steeply over the same period, going from 1,755 in the 1999-2000 school year to 997 in the 2020-2021 school year.

“Altogether, as the preceding chart illustrates, the generally dependent population (under 18 and over 65) in 2010 represented slightly over a third of the population. If current trends continue, though, this group will have significantly greater numbers of people than the working age population called upon to support it in many respects,” reads the 2023 update.

Goals and objectives

“As part of the original comprehensive planning effort, certain goals and objectives were developed, many of which remain valid today,” reads the 2023 update. That update includes revisions to those goals, to reflect how Cochecton’s present concerns differ from those of earlier years.

The town’s economic goals now reflect a burgeoning tourist economy; the plan recommends the use of existing tourism infrastructure to market the town to voters, and supports offering flexible standards to support the town’s existing businesses. The housing goals for the town now mention the development of workforce housing. The transportation goals have changed as well; they suggest the design of a safe network of streets and the use of traffic study data to guide large-scale development projects.

Cochecton, comprehensive plan, short term rentals


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