News: Ducey Border

Apr 21, 2021; Yuma, Arizona, USA; Arizona Governor Doug Ducey walks back to the vehicle after speaking to the media on the U.S. and Mexico border outside of Yuma on April 21, 2021. Ducey toured the border and spoke during a press conference a day after issuing a Declaration of Emergency and deploying the Arizona National Guard to the border. David Wallace/The Arizona Republic via USA TODAY NETWORK

PHOENIX — Some Republican lawmakers want to revisit — and repeal — the 2016 measure which stripped local governments of their ability to regulate short-term and vacation rentals.

Rep, Walt Blackman of Snowflake said the legislation pushed by Airbnb and its other companies and supported by Gov. Doug Ducey has had a serious negative effect on neighborhoods. So he has introduced HB 2069 to put the law back the way it was before.

His Senate seatmate, Wendy Rogers of Flagstaff, has identical legislation in SB 1026.

The move will get a fight, and not only from the companies that benefit from being clearinghouses for people to rent out everything from individual rooms to entire homes.

Sen. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, is planning to introduce a less-comprehensive measure which gives cities and counties some control over issues like noise and other violations. He said that should help address the perennial complaints of “party houses’’ popping up in residential areas.

Blackman, however, said those efforts fall short of what is needed to ensure that homes in neighborhoods are not turned into de facto hotels.

The measure was sold to lawmakers as allowing individuals to rent out a spare room to make a bit of extra cash. In fact, that’s how Airbnb got its names, the idea being an air mattress set up for a guest.

“For thousands of hardworking citizens, opening up their homes to out-of-state guests provides the financial breathing room they need to provide for the family or enjoy an extra expenses that they otherwise couldn’t afford,’’ Ducey said in signing the bill.

But the reality turned out to be something quite different.

In some communities, homes and apartments in entire areas have been bought up by investors to be converted into these short-term rentals, drying up the availability of affordable housing for local residents and converting whole areas into vacation rental zones -- possibilities that Ducey dismissed in 2016 as “hypotheticals.’’

By 2019, however, the governor conceded there were “some unintended consequences’’ in the law.

“It does appear in the situation of Airbnb and other organizations that we have some people out there that are doing some things that are disruptive to communities.’’

That resulted in some amendments allowing cities to issue some public safety regulations, like requiring owners to provide a contact for who could respond to complaints and prohibiting rentals from being used for special events like weddings.

But Blackman told Capitol Media Services all this fine is missing the point. He said these are local issues and none of the business of state lawmakers.

“That should be decided at the lowest level of government,’’ he said.

“That’s the mayors, the city councils,’’ Blackman continued. “Those are the people that live in that area.’’

Mesnard, however, sees the question from a different perspective.

First, he said, it will create “a mish-mash of regulations’’ among cities. But Mesnard said the larger issue is that leaving these decisions to mayors and council members will “trample on property rights,’’ meaning the ability of individuals to use their homes in a way they want -- and to be able to make money by renting them out.

Blackman, however, said the property rights that are at issue here are those of the people living in the neighborhood, which is why these questions are best handled by local officials.

“So if the community says they don’t want to do it, that’s a community decision, not a decision made here at the state,’’ he said.

Mesnard said he sees the big complaint being those “party houses.’’ And he said there are ways to address that.

Last year, for example, he proposed allowing communities to impose fines on owners who fail to provide information for police and others to contact them if there are problems with the tenants. The measure also would have let cities mandate minimum liability insurance.

Potentially more significant, it would have meant an owner would lose a state license to do business following three violations of local ordinances within three months, violations that could include noise or nuisance complaints.

It failed.

“It feels like that issue of party houses is being used to try to do more than just address party houses,’’ Mesnard said. And he said he would be open to further tweaks in the future to maintain that balance between the rights of individual property owners and the neighbors.

“But they want to take a sledge hammer to the thing,’’ Mesnard said, rescinding all limits on what cities can and cannot forbid. “I’m not going to support that.’’

The problem, however, is not limited to party houses.

During hearings last year there was testimony about investors creating de facto hotels in residential neighborhoods, dividing up homes into multiple rooms being rented out by the night.

And then there’s the question of drying up the supply of affordable housing.

There have been estimates that up to 40% of residential properties in tourist destinations like Sedona are now vacation rentals. And Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, who voted against the 2016 law, said it also is happening in places like Scottsdale.

Blackman said his colleagues should be sensitive to imposing limits on local control.

“We don’t want the federal government imposing on us,’’ Blackman said.

“But we’re doing it to local cities and towns,’’ he said. “It doesn’t make any sense to me.’’

Unsurprisingly, Airbnb is opposed to what Blackman and Rogers want and instead supports the more limited restrictions in the Mesnard bill, arguing that anything more would harm the tourism economy.

No date has been set for a hearing on any of the proposals.

6
1
0
0
3

(26) comments

simon1dog

Middle of the Road - [thumbup]

simon1dog

Too old for this

Too old for this -[thumbup]

HavasuGuy

Wasn’t it the republicans who caused this problem back in 2016 when they took local control away from the citizens?

Too old for this

The story makes it sound like Air Bnb and lobbyists caused the problem in 2016. But, spin it however you like. You usually do.

HavasuGuy

It was the republican led politicians who passed the law to restrict local government control by local citizens. Who’s spinning it however you like?

NorthLong

Weren't you a Republican back then?

Middle of the Road

No, it was the realtors that wanted this to happen, and it received near unanimous approval, from the right and the left. Once again, greed wins out!

1502

GOP wants more control of our cities. What a bunch of liars.

Too old for this

The Dems want more control of our lives. What a bunch of thieves and liars.

Third Eye

Well at least they aren't traitorous seditionists.

Middle of the Road

You're joking, right? That's exactly what the socialist left are trying to do, make the government whole, in our lives.

SedonaBob

Republicans consistently whine about states rights and "federal government overreach" and yet they have no problem with taking away the rights of our county's and city's to set regulations. Usual hypocrisy.

havasuhiker

Sedonabob you have never said one intelligent thing.

Blazer

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

HavasuGuy

[thumbdown][thumbdown][thumbdown]

Too old for this

[thumbup]

Middle of the Road

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

HavasuGuy

SedonaBob - Now they want to give back the local control that they took away in 2016? The Arizona Republican Party has been taken over by far-right extremists who worship at the orange loser’s altar…

Too old for this

As though the Left has not been taken over by AOC and Ilhan Omar. Didn't your mommy teach you to look both ways before crossing party lines?

Middle of the Road

Blah blah blah,

Middle of the Road

They don't want to "give" it back, the cities are asking to return it. Nobody "gives" anything in political world, it's all fought for. Point that finger at the Realtors Assn. , Air BnB and property managers, they are the ones that threw the fit to begin with.

hvnfun

Right on task! trumpers don't like when it is pointed out to them how poorly their party performs.

Middle of the Road

Oh Geeze, Bidens in the tank with a 33% approval rate, 70% of the country says the economy is going in the wrong direction, Inflation is at a 40 year high at 7 - 10 %. A botched Afghanistan exit. A war created against energy companies, empty store shelves, and a very botch Covid plan, and literally the most divisive speech we have ever heard from a president that claimed he would unite the country, and you think Republicans performed poorly? Wow, get your head out of the sand. The governement as a whole is not performing well.

Middle of the Road

And least I forget, the invasion of the Southern Border, that is bringing in disease, criminals, human trafficking, drug trafficking, child abuse, and 50k that did not return for their ICE hearings. The Administration of the left is a disaster that has this country in the weakest point it's ever been in. A man that sends people home for not being vaxxed, and thinks it's ok to put people out of work, and then pats himself on the back for a low unemployment. He's weak, feeble, inept and unstable, but hey you voted for him.

Middle of the Road

In this case, you are just wrong, big business won out.

Middle of the Road

There is a balance to everything!!! I'm all for the States, taking care of the states, the cities taking care of the cities, and the Big Daddy Government worrying about the security and welfare of the country!

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.