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Tue, Sept. 17

Changes to vacation rental regs closer in Prescott
Draft ordinances go to council study, voting sessions Tuesday

PRESCOTT – Two new ordinances that would simultaneously allow vacation rentals to operate in Prescott, and add a new level of regulation, are up for a vote by the Prescott City Council this week.

The council will conduct two meetings on Tuesday, Nov. 8: A 1 p.m. study session, and a 3 p.m. voting session. Both meetings will take place at Prescott City Hall, 201 S. Cortez Street.

The vacation rental ordinances will be considered during the council’s 3 p.m. voting session, and could result in a vote on adoption of the ordinances.

A city memo explains that while the city code currently prohibits rentals for less than 30 days in residential zones, a new state law that will become effective Jan. 1, 2017, will no longer allow such bans.

When the council last discussed the matter in early October, City Attorney Jon Paladini pointed out that although the city has no option other than to allow vacation rentals in neighborhoods, it does have a choice on whether to regulate the rentals.

The draft ordinance would impose a number of regulations, requiring owners to: obtain a registration certificate and pay an annual fee; provide name, address, and 24-hour telephone-number information for the owner and a local contact; provide evidence that the owner has made the name and telephone number information for a local contact available to all property owners within 300 feet of the rental property; and provide the number of bedrooms in the rental.

The ordinance would limit the maximum occupancy in the rental to two people, plus an additional two people per bedroom.

“The primary purpose of this regulation is to mitigate short-term rental type impacts on residential neighborhoods (e.g., noise, parking, trash, disorderly conduct, etc.),” stated the city memo.

Despite the current prohibition of short-term rentals in Prescott, an outside vendor has estimated that as many as 220 vacation rentals already operate in Prescott.

Prescott City Manager Michael Lamar said the city is looking into contracting with the vendor – not only for tracking the number of vacation rentals, but also possibly for providing a hotline for complaints, as well as for helping to track the number of group recovery homes in the city.

Lamar said Friday, Nov. 5, that although the city has yet to determine the cost of such a service, he noted that it likely would be considerably less than hiring more city code enforcement employees to do the tasks.

Under the city’s new business license – set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2017 – vacation rental owners/operators will be required to obtain a city business license, as well as a sales tax license. The rentals would be required to pay sales tax and bed tax (currently paid by hotel and motel customers).

In other action, the council will:

• Conduct a public hearing and consider rezoning several parcels located south of West Goodwin Street to the city’s Downtown Business District designation (from the current Business General zoning). The rezoning, which would come with more lenient parking requirements, among other things, recently received a vote of support from the Prescott Planning and Zoning Commission.

• Consider the final plat for three phases of Walden Ranch, a 215-lot single-family subdivision planned off Highway 89, east of the Phippen Museum.

• Consider a $42,000 contract with the Aarons Company for lobbying services at the Arizona State Legislature through November 2018.

• Hear a presentation (during the 1 p.m. study session) on a draft city water management policy and alternative water allocation.

• Hear a presentation (also at the 1 p.m. session) by the Ad Hoc Leadership Advisory Group concerning recommendations on the city’s economic future.

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