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Paradise Valley Town Council continues to sharpen municipal STR regulations amid fee study timeline

Photo of Town of Paradise Valley skyline
An aerial view during sunset of the Town of Paradise Valley and city of Scottsdale with Camelback Mountain and surrounding Phoenix landscape and neighborhoods. (File Photos/DigitalFreePress.com)
Paradise Valley to publish public records during STR operator registration
By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press

In tune with recent legal opinion at the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, Paradise Valley Town Council is moving forward with several new regulations regarding the operations of short-term rentals within municipal bounds.

Paradise Valley Town Attorney Andrew McGuire provided the local governing board Thursday, Sept. 22, with new information regarding public records and how those will be used to educate residents of short-term rental enterprises around them.

Found part of new regulations emerging in the Town of Paradise Valley are registration requirements including basic points like name, address and contact information. But in addition to those items being filed at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive, they will also be published at the town’s website.

Paradise Valley Town Manager Jill Keimach reports those data points will be available publicly in concert with the completion of the ongoing fee study anticipated to close at the end of October. Also, part of the new state law requirement is notification must be made to surrounding residents of the property owner’s commercial interests.

The fee study, approved unanimously at Town Council’s Sept. 8 meeting at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive, is under review and study for the next 60 days.

What are the fees being considered? In recent weeks, Mr. McGuire outlined in detail:

  • Short-term rental enterprises that do not apply for a permit within 30 days of operations must cease operations.
  • Failure to register within 30 days = $1,000/month.
  • Failure to provide contact information after 30 day notice = $1,000/30 days.

Additional penalties for violations within same 12-month period:

  • Greater of up to $500 or one night’s rent at the advertised rate.
  • Greater of up to $1,000 or two night’s rent at the advertised rate.
  • Greater of up to $3,500 or three night’s rent at the advertised rate.

Paradise Valley officials say the formula of the guidelines is a direct request of residents of the community whereas complaints have surged in recent years over the abundance of “party houses” sprouting up within the community.

“Our intent is not to suspend or revoke for a year,” Ms. Keimach said of the ultimate pursuit of the local authority. “When we start talking about the municipality’s ability to control operators assuming a rental income, it comes down to the fine.”

Also, the Attorney General’s Office agrees with the precedent that since registration is now required at the municipal level — those records are public, Ms. Keimach said.

“Our current code that STR information is public information passed mustard with the Attorney General’s Office,” she said during the work session discussion “We will have a map on the town website with that information.”

Amid those talks, the No. 1 policy question was: How should residents be notified of those commercial operators?

“This is a pure policy question after this is adopted by the council; we plan on producing a town recorder edition with all of this STR information,” Ms. Keimach said when asked for direction on notices to residents.

Paradise Valley Vice Mayor Anna Thomasson. (Photo: Arianna Grainey/DigitalFreePress.com)

A brief debate on Paradise Valley notification

Paradise Valley Vice Mayor Anna Thomasson brought up residents’ concerns around privacy.

“My first indication is to opt for non-notification,” she said pointing out the digital age today allows for instant access to basic public information such as the kind to be provided to the municipality. “We don’t get notified when a family with teenagers moves in next door. I think we can presume good intent to respect the neighbors.”

Large lots and healthy residential setbacks mark the community of the Town of Paradise Valley in more ways than one as Councilman Mark Stanton provides a mailing is the most appropriate measure from his view.

“I support that, and I think it makes the most sense,” he said. “I like the sense of optimism the vice mayor shared — let’s hope for the best and hope there are no issues.”

Paradise Valley Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner agrees with the idea of notifications presented.

“Some of this — for many of our residents — is having a communication they don’t want at all,” he said of the respect of residential privacy. “I think it is putting our citizens in an awkward position. Our citizens value safety but also they value their privacy.”

Paradise Valley Councilwoman Julie Pace, who was participating on the telephone, offered the mailing notice works quite well for projects sprouting near local hillsides.

“I land on it being mailed as a written ordinance,” she said. “We get these for us living on hillside all the time. It works.”

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