Enough is enough: I am now starting my second year down at the Arizona legislature and there is no single issue that has caused more constituents to reach out to me with personal emails and calls then the distress and damage being caused by these unregulated business now running rampant in our neighborhoods.
For that reason, I was proud to sponsor HB2001, the first bill filed at the Arizona State House of Representatives this year, which would repeal the ban on local cities and towns being able to regulate air BnBs.
One of the most heartfelt conversations I’ve had on this topic was with Lee, a 30-year resident of Paradise Valley. She asked me to meet her for coffee so she could talk to me about this issue.
She shared how when a home in her neighborhood was recently sold and remodeled, she went over when the work was finished with a plate of cookies to welcome her new neighbor.
As she walked up the door, she saw a sign that said “Welcome to the Platinum Experience” — which was her first signal of what was about to happen now that a business had effectively opened up right next door to her. Lee watched in horror weekend after weekend as limos dropped off visitors to this “party house.”
She reported to me how elderly neighbors have been nearly hit by beer bottles thrown from another nearby hilltop house as they walked outside. I was most taken by how Lee summed it all up: “We’re Arizonans, we get along with each other. This isn’t the Arizona way.”
I couldn’t agree more. The reality is when SB1350 passed in 2015, the members of the Arizona legislature were sold a bill of goods. It passed with overwhelming broad bi-partisan support and I have heard legislators who were serving back then say they thought they were helping grandma or grandpa make a few extra dollars by being able to rent out their extra rooms.
In actual fact, there has been a barrage of investors who have purchased homes and now use them exclusively for air BnBs — which has effectively allowed business to run ramshot through our neighborhoods.
We have residential zoning for a reason — to allow us to all peacefully enjoy our homes away from commercial interests. Multiplying air BnBs are taking this away from us all and they are spreading at an alarming rate.
My goal is not to ban air BnBs outright. My proposal is simple: let’s go back to the way it was before the legislature passed this bill in 2015 and allow cities and towns to regulate them.
The reality is what one town needs or wants to do is and should be quite different from another. Sedona is different from Phoenix which is different from Paradise Valley. As I learned from my days as CEO in the private sector, the best answer usually comes from those closest to the problem.
This week, Lee invited me over to a meeting at a neighbor’s house with a group of residents who wanted to share their struggles with air BnBs. I was horrified, but not surprised, to hear so many of them share stories similar to Lee’s. They asked me plaintively, “what can we do to change this horrible law?”
My answer: keep doing what they’re doing. Come together as neighbors, reach out to elected leaders, and let them now enough is enough. We need to work together to fight for what is right.
After all, this is the true Arizona way, and I’m committed to continuing to work with neighbors, legislators, the Governor, and anyone else who will listen to try to fix the damage done by this terrible law.
I was so moved by hearing about their experience that I filed HCR2037 this week — on the last day we can file new bills this session. This bill would refer a vote to repeal air BnBs directly to the ballot in November to let the people of Arizona decide their fate.
Importantly, if HCRs pass both the House and Senate, they go directly to the ballot and cannot be vetoed by the Governor.
If you want to join me in this fight, please email me at email@example.com.
You can also visit Greg Hague’s excellent website, www.repeal1350.com for more information.
Aaron Lieberman is a Paradise Valley resident and representative for Arizona Legislative District 28.