It appears that the No on Z folks have begun to take their argument to the voters.
Measure Z is the ballot measure, set for an Oct. 6 special election, which will ask voters whether or not they wish to freeze certain zoning in place as it relates to the ban on nightly rentals of single family homes.
In other words, yes means no (rentals) and no means, well … we met with Councilman Colin Fernie to ask him what a ‘no’ vote would mean.
Fernie said, “The argument that we should simply vote yes, keep zoning in place and enforce existing rules is unrealistic.”
“What we’re doing now [enforcing existing regulations to the extent that the financially-strapped Town is able] is not working. We have quality-of-life issues. Why lock in what isn’t working [by approving Measure Z]?”
“An alternative plan will be proposed by Labor Day, so if you vote ‘no’, you’ll know what you’re voting for.
Fernie added, “A balanced, regulated program is what we need to work towards.” Rental night limitations, rental license limitations and enforcement are just a few of the issues that will be addressed in the alternative plan.
As a member of the Mammoth Lakes Housing Board, Fernie was able to get his hands on a recently released CAST (Colorado Assn. of Ski Towns) study on the home rental issue.
The study is not available to the public at this time, and Fernie was not allowed to share its specifics.
He said the study is designed as a blueprint – if you wish to allow home rentals, it explains the best practices to achieve it.
He also said the document represents the culmination of 10 years of study, and the impact on community of home rentals is the focus. In other words, they’ve already accepted the change that technology has brought and are studying the effects.
“We’re not at the starting line, and they’ve already done a lap,” he observed.
Fernie summarized the study’s findings this way. Prohibition of rentals is futile. Similarly, letting rentals run amok without regulation is also futile.
As CAST Executive Director Joyce Burford said in a July 19 story in the Denver Post, “They [illegal rentals] tend to proliferate wherever there’s a ban – but you can try to regulate them … And I think theb towns that are facing the most impact in terms of losing their long-term housing supply are the ones that are going to have to enforce the toughest regulations.”
The Post story also noted that Santa Barbara just approved very tight rental restrictions, which it believes will shut down 80% of the rental properties.
Forbes Magazine reported in its June 15 issue that Santa Monica also passed tight restrictions that will force hosts to be on property during a renter’s stay, have a business license and collect 14% TOT.
“The city is reportedly hiring three staff members to track down violations,” the article stated.
Fernie handed me a copy of a July 14 story in Time Magazine which talked about San Francisco’s attempts to regulate airbnb. Airbnb listings in the city have tripled over the past two years.
Fernie pointed to the last paragraph.
“Farrell [San Francisco Supervisor Mark] and other city lawmakers cautioned against deciding this issue by ballot, because after a law is out in place that way, officials must return to voters in order to make any changes to it. He said that the economy and business models are changing too rapdily to putb such a high bar in place for updating related laws. ‘We’re in the top of the first inning here,’ said Farrell.”
As we were finishing up, I asked Fernie if the “Just Say No” campaign had convinced him not to drink or do drugs in high school.
Likewise, it appears the Just Say No to rentals campaign hasn’t worked on him, either. “This is a complicated, nuanced issue,” he said. “Their [Yes on Z] argument is sort of black and white.”
Raimondo’s peer resort tour
Mayor Michael Raimondo, Mayor Pro-Tem Shields Richardson and MLT Executive Director John Urdi just returned from their 2nd triup to the Sturgis motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S.D.
Along the way, the group conducted an impromptu peer resort tour, visiting Sun Valley, Jackson Hole, Breckenridge, Vail, Park City and the Canyons.
Unlike previous peer resort tours, this tour was made on their own dime.
As Raimondo observed, each resort visited had at least two or three cranes in the air and construction is booming and everyone is having a phenomenal summer.
In Park City, the lines are so long to enjoy the summer mountain rides and attractions that it feels like Disneyland.
“They’re running 9-10 month business cycles. In Mammoth, we’re running 6-7 month cycles,” he observed.
He theorized that Colorado has been more aggressive in courting growth and development because it’s had to compete with each other. But now, said Raimondo, they’re planning to aggressively target our home market (Southern California). “They’re coming after us,” he said.
And from Vane’s desk …
California Energy Commission (CEC) Information Officer Michael Ward contacted The Sheet last week to clarify why Pine Creek Mine’s application to become a renewable hydroelectric energy provider was first denied, and then took so long to approve.
While Pine Creek Mine co-owner Craig Rossell asserted that the Mine’s application was denied because Southern California Edison (SCE) failed to submit a Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS) generating unit number on time, Ward said this was not the case (SCE claimed it provided the generating unit number to the Mine in sufficient time).
“The October 2012 pre-application from Bishop Tungsten [Pine Creek Mine] was not disapproved by the Energy Commission because the WREGIS generating unit ID number was missing,” Ward said. “A WREGIS ID was not required as part of the precertification process because the facility had not yet begun operations.”
Ward explained that the Mine’s 2012 application was disapproved not because of missing documents, “but because staff determined that Bishop Tungsten was a new conduit hydroelectric facility, not an existing one that had commenced commercial operations prior to Jan. 1, 2006.”
Because “significant changes had occurred at the facility” since the CEC had approved an original 2009 application, “a new application was required,” Ward said. “The applicant decided not to submit a new application, and the application was disapproved in January 2013.”
Ward said the CEC received the Mine’s next application on Aug. 29, 2014, but that the CEC did not deem the application complete until April 8, 2015 because of errors in the application’s commercial operations date and missing hydroelectric supplemental information, as well as “other required information such as a signature for precertification attestation, and because some responses on the application and supplemental forms were incorrect.”
Although typically the CEC’s review process takes about 60 days, that phase does not begin until the CEC deems an application complete.
“Once the requested documents were received, staff began evaluating the materials and on several occasions, contacted the applicant to provide additional information or clarification,” Ward said.
The CEC approved the Mine’s application on April 9, 2015.