Q&A: The shared economy, the Town of Paradise Valley and JBW

Town of Paradise Valley Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner (File photo)

The Town of Paradise Valley Independent reached out to Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner to better understand his perspective specific to the fledging shared economy emerging within town limits.

Mr. Bien-Willner --- a lawyer by trade, an entrepreneur at heart --- offers three examples of town efforts. They are:

  • The Town of Paradise Valley has published a comprehensive webpage in an effort to helping both consumer and operators navigate the short-term rental operation.
  • The adoption of HB 2672, which requires operator contact information shared with local law enforcement entities and;
  • The introduction of SB 1487, which seeks an Attorney General investigation into whether or not short-term rental provisions should be allowed, according to the Arizona Constitution.

Mr. Bien-Willner offers his thoughts on how a shared economy is changing the face of the Town of Paradise Valley:

•As concerns arise, how do you explain what can and cannot be done through enforcement by the town regarding rowdy short-term rental guests?

The town has already undertaken a robust program to protect our quiet, residential character against bad actors using or renting out short-term rentals. Even before short-term rentals proliferated under a more permissive approach at the state level starting in 2016, the town had --- and continues to have --- restrictions on the use of homes for special events, undue noise, and overparking. The town also got active in identifying, through technology, and educating short-term renters with correspondence and an active webpage on the town’s regulations and the potential downsides of short-term renting.

These efforts are always aimed at striking a good and fair balance between the reasonable expectations of our town’s residents who bought homes in Paradise Valley to enjoy peaceful, non-commercial surroundings and property rights. We are doing all we can to protect town residents from unwanted intrusions from rowdy rental activity within the confines of state law.

For example, in March 2018, the Town Council unanimously approved an “Unruly Gathering” ordinance that helps our police department to control loud or boisterous gatherings, including at short-term rental properties. We are grateful that Gov. [Doug] Ducey recently passed legislation that further controls some of the undesirable activities and increases owner accountability (HB 2672), which dovetails nicely with our efforts.

It is important our citizens understand that the town’s say in this area is largely “preempted” by state law, so we are always mindful of the state law in this area, particularly as any perceived conflict between the town’s ordinances and state laws can result in a defunding of the town by the State of Arizona, pursuant to SB 1487. I have worked closely with legislators, including the representatives in our district, Sen. Brophy McGee, Rep. Butler and Rep. Lieberman, and with Rep. Kavanagh from the Fountain Hills area, to ensure that the interests of Paradise Valley are protected to the maximum extent possible.

I know that council will remain vigilant and proactive concerning these issues. If our residents observe or experience unlawful conduct or have questions, I encourage them to contact the town.

• How has this short-term rental economy changed the dynamic of resort operations?

Our resorts continue to thrive. The feedback I have received from the resort community indicates that the short-term rentals tend to proliferate during large events --- Phoenix Open, Barrett-Jackson and bowl games --- during which time the resorts are usually sold out --- however, I am informed that those seeking short-term rentals in Paradise Valley are often looking for a “party house” experience where large crowds and activities that cannot take place a resort may be tolerated, which can be a problem.

• How has this short-term rental economy changed the dynamic of SUP property development or, rather, the pursuit of it?

Fortunately, our resorts and resort redevelopment activities continue to move along as expected notwithstanding short-term rental activity.

•Are short-term rentals becoming more available in the Town of Paradise Valley?

Short-term rental activity tends to ebb and flow, but as best as we can tell there has not been a dramatic increase over the past several years. Rather, it seems that there was an uptick in the activity after the recession, when many homes were acquired and could not easily be resold or rented long term, and short-term rental platforms were becoming better known.

•Does this issue grow or contract from here?

The future is unknown, but our residents should know that I and our council will continue to keep a watchful eye on this issue and will evaluate and respond appropriately to any concerns that may arise.