Vacation and Short-term Rentals (V&STRs) are of significant concern throughout the state, county and city. While they provide homeowners with additional income, they can also upset community characteristics, particularly when businesses buy homes and turn them into transient housing.
A 2016 law restricting city and county authority to regulate V&STRs was revised and resigned into law May 2019. Cities and counties a) may not prohibit V&STRs, b) can only restrict them for public health and safety reasons, and c) may only adopt and enforce zoning that apply to all properties. (Law.justicia.com).
May 2019, State Rep. Bob Thorpe, who supported state regulation over local governance, met Sedona residents upset that V&STRs have disrupted their community character. He said, "We never anticipated that somebody would … purchase a home and turn it into a mini-hotel." (USA Today, 07/27/19).
This law allows exactly that when Sedona is strapped for working-resident affordable housing, a situation paralleling Flagstaff region. Aug. 23, 2019, three months after signing V&STR law, Gov. Ducey promised to reconsider V&STR in Fall legislature. (Az. Republic 08/23/19). Democrats introduced a November V&STR revision (for 2020), and Ducey’s Office said he would not reconsider V&STR laws. (Az. Republic 11/13/19).
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Our County Supervisors are addressing how cities and counties could regulate V&STRs as discussed in the December County and State Legislative Council. Rather than “never anticipating” something, our Supervisors are beginning with an equitable local tax on V&STRs that is fair to hotels and doesn’t hamstring homeowners from having income producing property.
The real question is where the decision should be made as to how V&STRs are managed. Our State Congress has conducted a concerted effort to usurp the process and power to make decisions which should rightfully be made by local governments because they are most knowledge of and responsible for decisions made. That’s why I believe in local governance.