Klapp, Whitehead: Public invited to Aug. 7 nuisance ordinance hearing

In 2016, the Arizona legislature passed a bill dubbed the “Airbnb” bill, restricting cities’ authority to regulate short term rentals (SB1350: ).

Suzanne Klapp

Prior to this law, the city of Scottsdale did not permit rentals of less than 30 days in single family residential areas. The impact of the three-year-old state law has been profound.

We hear from residents whose neighborhoods and quality of lives have been disrupted as homes are converted into “hotels.” Short term rentals often have higher occupancy than normal homes, increasing noise, traffic, street parking, and trash. The revolving door of tenants has harmed the sense of community in these neighborhoods.

According to the city treasurer’s office, there were 2,818 short term listings in Scottsdale this past March. “Party houses” in single family neighborhoods are also springing up across the city and promoted through social media. These party activities draw large crowds, noise, trash and sometimes illegal activities.

Solange Whitehead

Now, for the good news. This spring, a new state law ceded some control for regulating short-term rentals back to cities. Short-term lodging operators in Scottsdale must now obtain transaction privilege tax licenses and pay appropriate bed taxes.

These lodging owners must also provide contact information for a responsible party. Fines for violations at the properties will now be levied on owners in addition to vacationers. The first fine is $500 and rises to $1,000 then $1,500 for subsequent violations.

In order to maximize protection of our neighborhoods, the City Council has directed the city staff to develop an ordinance that controls nuisance parties and unlawful gatherings on private property.

A public hearing — which applies to short- and long-term rentals — will be from 6 to 7 pm., Aug. 7 at the Community Design Studio, 7506 E. Indian School.

Public comments can be made in person or by emailing Raun Keagy at rkeagy@scottsdaleaz.gov. The proposed ordinance can be found at Scottsdaleaz.gov and search for “Nuisance parties and unlawful gatherings ordinance.”

We are building a short term rental owner database so the Scottsdale Police Department and other city enforcement personnel can assertively enforce the law and notify and assess fines on owners for violations at their properties. The data will also provide a clearer picture of how short-term rentals are impacting each of our neighborhoods – data that may influence future legislative bills and ordinances.

We believe that enacting a nuisance ordinance and creating a useful database are first steps that will make a positive and visible impact immediately on residents.

We look forward to hearing from you or seeing you at the nuisance ordinance public hearing on Aug. 7.

Editor’s note: Ms. Whitehead and Ms. Klapp are elected members of Scottsdale City Council

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