Editorial: Single-family zoning goes the way of 8-track tapes
The common-sense logic of Jerome Mayor Lew Currier spoke volumes in the long-standing debate about vacation rentals in Arizona. Such short-term rentals, said Mayor Currier, are an unwanted and unfair intrusion to traditional residential neighborhoods.
But as is all too often the case with legal maneuverings and political processes, common sense had little to do with the ultimate outcome.
Gov. Doug Ducey this week signed legislation that protects the vacation rental industry from municipal regulation.
And with that stroke of the pen, Arizona cities and towns should do the same and make official what lawmakers and the governor already have done: Throw single-family residential zoning out the window.
After all, in Arizona there no longer is the guarantee that buying into an area with single-family residential zoning is really a traditional single-family neighborhood.
As Mr. Currier astutely observes about vacation rentals, "These are not residences, these are commercial activities."
Added Yavapai County Director of Development Services Steve Mauk: "We have had whole blocks of neighborhoods turn into short-term rentals and it really changes the character of the neighborhood."
It's not just vacation rentals. Sober living group homes are now common in single-family neighborhoods. They are legally protected under the Federal Fair Housing Act. Likewise, home-based businesses have become more common in single-family neighborhoods. They are legally allowed under the provisions of conditional use permits.
At every step of the way, the concept of single-family residential zoning has been watered down.
The way it's evolved, it's disingenuous for cities and towns to continue to pretend it even exists any more.