Letter: Vacation rentals a very real threat to traditional neighborhoods
I was pleased to read your editorial from August 29 regarding short-term rentals.
The unintended consequences of Senate Bill 1350 for Sedona (and many other towns in Arizona) include making an already difficult traffic situation worse and reducing the already slim stock of affordable housing.
In our neighborhood, the first consequence was the eviction of a neighbor and his dog from their rental house after it was sold to an out-of-town couple. A month later, it was listed on AirBnB for $150 per night.
Now we are watching the construction of a two-story, 6,600 square foot “house” that will be entirely inconsistent with our neighborhood of modest 2- to 3-bedroom homes.
This structure will have eight master suites and a bunk room, for a total capacity of upwards of 20-25 individuals.
The out-of-town developer states that they specialize in “high occupancy retreats.” How this can be considered anything other than a motel is beyond me, but according to our city staff it meets all the city zoning rules, and thanks to Senate Bill 1350, the use of this structure as a motel cannot be prevented.
Words cannot convey my displeasure with Gov. Ducey and the Arizona Legislature. According to our representative, Bob Thorpe, the legislature was duped into thinking that they were approving a law that would allow people to rent out spare bedrooms in their homes, when in fact they were approving a law that would allow out-of-town investors to establish commercial enterprises in our neighborhoods.
For a town like Sedona (or Cottonwood or many others) this is an existential threat. If nothing is done, within a few years the small remaining population of full-time residents will consist mainly of real estate agents and owners of tourist-related businesses.
The rest of us will have fled.
Brian E. Reynolds