Editorial: Sedona approach best solution for vacation rentals

Typically when the voters speak, you have the solution to whatever wrench that's been tossed into the machinery of the public good.

But even after Jerome voters decisively struck down the town's vacation rentals ordinance by a 3-1 margin last August, this is an issue that continues to dog the Town Council and administration.

Jerome isn't alone on this issue. Key in the words "vacation rentals" on Google and you'll find communities big and small from one end of the country to the other that are conflicted over the issue of short-term rental properties in single-family residential zones.

• San Diego City Council to hear debate on vacation rentals

• Lauderdale seeks to tighten control of vacation rentals

• Duluth could put vacation rental licenses on hold

• Vacation rental agencies see scams on Tybee Island

• Debate Over Vacation Rentals Heats Up In Laguna Beach

• Vacation rentals an 'epidemic' problem in Yavapai County

Locally, Sedona is one community that has been way ahead of the curve on this issue. The city has long had a specific vacation rentals ordinance that clearly prohibits the rental of any single-family dwelling in residential areas for less than 30 days, or to even advertise the rental of a residence for less than 30 days.

According to Community Development Director Berrin Nejad, "The City of Cottonwood does not have a separate short-term vacation rental ordinance. Instead, such uses are regulated as a lodging use under the definition of a hotel, which is permitted, subject to standards, in commercial zoning districts only ... The City of Cottonwood also has provisions for three types of Bed & Breakfast lodging uses. Depending on the number of guest rooms, these types of facilities may be considered in various residential zones, as well as commercial zones in some cases. However, the B&B uses are defined as having on-site management. So there are differences with short-term residential rental properties."

If that is supposed to protect Cottonwood from vacation rentals, it's not working: The VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner) website currently lists six vacation rental homes in Cottonwood that go for $125 to $400 per night.

Clarkdale, by comparison, does not place any time restrictions on residential rentals in its code. The door is wide open in Clarkdale for vacation rentals.

Unless a community has a specifically worded code as Sedona does, you should fully expect to have vacation rentals in your community.

If you leave a loophole in your town or city code, it will be taken advantage of and single-family residential will become a watered-down zoning concept in your community.

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