Grass Valley reviews short-term rental regulations |

Grass Valley reviews short-term rental regulations

For short-term rentals of one or two bedrooms in Grass Valley, hosts may be required to live on-site if regulations presented to the Grass Valley Planning Commission are passed.

Short-term rentals have been a hotly-debated topic by those who profit off the industry and others who say the vacation homes are exacerbating a growing housing crisis.

For short-term rentals of entire houses, homeowners wouldn’t have to be present, but homeowners or property managers would be required to live within 30 miles of the vacation rental and be readily available in the event the city needs to make contact.

Both rental categories would be required to pay transient occupancy taxes and obtain business licenses.

Whole-home units would need additional minor use permits from the city. The draft ordinance questions whether to regulate the number of permits available.

Mike Berlin, a member of Tenants of Nevada County, told planning commissioners Tuesday he’d like the city to ban short-term, whole-house rentals outright. Vacation rentals have a direct, negative effect on the availability of housing for people living and working it the community, he said.

Fair share

The draft ordinance also proposes scaling back requirements for traditional bed and breakfast inns in order to level the playing field for those businesses, which now compete with online rentals through websites like AirBnB, VRBO and HomeAway.

Peter Franchino, owner of Elam Biggs Bed & Breakfast in Grass Valley, told the City Council in June he’s seen a steep drop in business that he attributes to the growing popularity of online short-term vacation rental platforms.

Franchino said his business adheres to strict standards and regulations, while short-term rentals don’t.

“All I’m asking is that everybody pays their fair share,” he said.

The proposed ordinance requires both traditional bed and breakfast businesses and online, short-term rentals to meet fire and building codes and accessibility requirements when those units contain more than five guest rooms, or 10 total occupants.

Planning commissioners on Tuesday ultimately decided to hit the brakes when asked to make a recommendation to City Council.

Commissioners said they hadn’t had enough opportunity to research regulations adopted by other, similar communities and they wanted more public input on the topic.

The Planning Commission is expected to revisit the topic during its next meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Feb. 20.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Pera, email or call 530-477-4231.

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