City planning board considers permits for Airbnb operators

Should Airbnb operators be forced to get a license and a permit? City officials are considering just that.
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FILE: The front of City Hall in Downtown Winters. Photo by Matthew Keys

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City of Winters Staff Intern Aaron Ryan. Photo by Matthew Keys[/caption]Some on the panel explored the idea that certain health and safety measures, such as the installation of carbon monoxide alarms and fire extinguishers and bringing homes to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, could be a requirement for obtaining permits. But commission member David Adams expressed concern that over-regulating temporary rentals could be seen as the city telling homeowners what they can and cannot do with their property. “I would love to see the city attorney weigh in on what is business and that sort of things, because I think there’s an issue with telling people what they can and cannot do with their private property,” Adams said. “My grandmother rented out rooms. I’ve rented out rooms.” “Did your grandmother have 15 or 20 people playing loud music in your backyard?” questioned fellow member Patrick Riley. “No,” Adams replied, “she would have hit them with a frying pan.” “Well, that’s what we’re talking about,” Riley responded. “We already have solutions to that,” Adams retorted. “You call the police.” “It would be important for the Winters Police Department to not have to police short-term rentals,” member Paul Myer chimed in, adding that in his neighborhood, parties “go on, and people come and leave,” and when the police are called, “it’s just a noise thing.” Some neighbors have gone so far as to ignore the parties altogether because “the people leave in the morning, and that’s not how it should be,” Myer said. Toward the end of the study sessions, the planning commission appeared to be leaning heavily toward requiring permits for Airbnb operators with a permit’s revocation as the appropriate enforcement measure should a temporary rental in a neighborhood cause a headache for residents. City Manager John Donlevy said the permits were effective because “if there are problems with the property, (the city) can revoke the permit and then go after the homeowner for operating a business without the permit” if they continue to operate through Airbnb or a similar service. The debate was merely a hearing intended to help guide Ryan’s analysis of the proposed ordinance with input from the panel, and no formal action was taken on behalf of the commission that night.]]>

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