Recently, Sedona held a public information meeting on vacation rentals in that town. I found the story on the meeting interesting, not so much for what I expected would be the common complaints about VRBOs co-existing with permanent households, but what the primary concern was among those in attendance: the loss of neighborhoods, which in turn has diminished the people's sense of community as more and more homes have been bought -- most often by out-of-town real estate investors-- and turned into highly profitable rentals.
Flagstaff is experiencing a similar situation as Sedona, but I am not aware of a similar level of concern by our city government to provide information, discuss the issues and, hopefully, at least, give people who are most affected by vacation rentals the sense that city lawmakers are listening to them and not passing the buck of responsibility because their hands are tied due to a state ban on local regulation of short-term rentals.
The reality is residents are made to feel it's up to them to deal with the inevitable disturbances and problems inherent in these neighborhood rentals. In my HOA of Ponderosa Trails alone nearly 25% of the houses are VRBOs. Fortunately, three adjacent to me have not posed the kinds of problems I've heard about elsewhere. But would I and my wife prefer these homes to be owned and occupied by permanent families? Absolutely.
The question seems to be, are we thinking about this issue in ways that get to the heart of what is the primary concern here as in Sedona: preserving neighborhoods as they always were meant to be? Sedona has something called the Tourism Sustainability Plan. I have no idea how this works or what results come from it, but it sure sounds good to me. Perhaps we should be thinking along similar lines.