On July 24 a home located in Paradise Valley, listed on Airbnb’s short-term rental website, was the focus of a major police event that included our Paradise Valley police shutting down the party, issuing citations to the homeowner for criminal littering, unruly gathering and excessive noise.
Once again, our police department did an excellent job responding to an event that we wish it didn’t have to --- and would have been prohibited altogether from occurring under our town’s historical zoning.
Our zoning, home values and security were eviscerated by the terrible state law, SB 1350, favoring the creation of “neighborhood motels,” and in this case a neighborhood speakeasy: It appeared the home was being used as a local bar where patrons were shuttled in and out of the event.
Besides issuing citations there was even one arrest made for an individual that had an unrelated warrant.
Even though Airbnb has officially started suspending short-term rentals listings in violation following complaints related to parties and large events, it still hasn’t stopped the numerous calls from residents on several short-term rentals that police regularly visit when responding to complaints.
Unfortunately, when Governor Ducey passed SB 1350 our town lost most of its legislative power to pass local laws that allow us to regulate short-term rentals at the local level.
Thus, we are put in the terrible position of having to wait for “bad things to happen,” and then call upon our police department, rather than handling this a zoning issue, as had been the case prior to the STR industry-pushed SB 1350.
While the Paradise Valley council has passed an unruly-gathering ordinance that code-enforcement officers and police can reference when called out to rental properties that are getting out of control, this is usually initiated by a neighbor having to call it in.
It’s like our residents must become the front desk and the hotel security for these unregulated hotels and it’s generally our town residents that first experience any unlawful and intrusive behavior when a short-term rental property becomes the destination for an event or party.
This is unacceptable, but unfortunately for now it’s all we can do so please continue to call-in disturbances you see and hear.
Our council has been united under the leadership of our Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner to continue fighting for legislation that gives back local control to the cities and towns. Along with several of my colleagues and our Town Manager Jill Keimach, I have accompanied our mayor to the State Capital to voice our concerns to the joint AD Hoc Committee --- a committee formed by our local legislators to study the impact of short-term rentals on Arizona communities.
We were making great progress at the state legislature before the pandemic hit and shut those efforts down temporarily. However, during this pandemic our Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner has contacted the Governor’s office on several occasions to give warning that something like this was going to happen when all the bars are being mandated to temporarily shut down during the COVID crisis.
We were not surprised this event occurred and confident our local police would handle the situation in a calm and orderly manner.
Once we get through the election and our legislators get back into session, I vow to continue working with Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner, my fellow council members, our district state legislators, Senator Kate Brophy McGee, Representative Arron Lieberman, Representative Kelly Butler and others to bring about meaningful change that will eliminate this from happening again.
Editor’s Note: Scott Moore is a member of Paradise Valley Town Council and is seeking re-election in the Aug. 4 primary election.