Cindy Hintz: Give or take? One Nevada City Host story
I moved to Nevada City in 2007 to live closer to family. My corporate job afforded me a lovely downtown Victorian, which I promptly renovated.
Since then, it has been my pleasure to welcome both local folk and visitors on the home tour and Open Studios tour. Each visitor compliments the home’s unique character, charm and quality. While I can’t take credit for all of it, I can take credit for a good deal.
In 2009 I lost my job, and spent several years looking for work. Discovering my priorities changed, no longer would I travel back and forth to the Bay Area. I wanted to work in Nevada City. Hired by a Nevada City nonprofit, whose successful mission has benefited the community for over two decades, I navigated a career change.
Realizing this new life feeds my soul and benefits my community, I found myself looking for constructive ways to supplement my income. Efforts by the Nevada City Hosts in 2015 appealed to me, as I realized occasionally sharing a portion of my home as a short-term rental is a benefit to my family and Nevada City. I maintain the family investment and I help support my town housing tourists, out-of-town guests and friends. Merchants benefit from my participation in the shared economy, while necessary city services are paid for with my bed tax. A give, give, give.
A silver lining became reality in November 2015, as Nevada City Hosts were successful in a campaign to draft and bring to vote Ordinance 2015-12, which after considerable debate, the city council passed by simple majority. My short-term rental application was then submitted to the City of Nevada City and was accepted in compliance with Ordinance 2015-12.
In January, I built my short-term rental listing on Airbnb. As a host creates a listing, many description choices are available from the Airbnb menu: House, Townhouse, Bungalow, Cabin, among a dozen other descriptions. Once a host describes the listing, they then choose between the following categories:
1. Entire Home/apartment; 2. Private Room; 3. Shared Room.
From January to March, my two units were listed as private rooms. These rooms share a bath. With zero inquiries it was clear this type of stay was not what visitors look for. I changed my listing to the following: House, Entire Home, explaining to guests I occupy living space in my home by separate entrance. I raise this level of detail to educate my reader that the manner in which I describe my short term rental is dictated by Airbnb menu choices, not by my unit description approved by the City of Nevada City.
Why is this important? This fact is directly tied to the misleading and ever-changing data the supporters of Measure Y quote. They falsely claim that anywhere from 13 to 26 illegal whole-house rentals are operating in Nevada City.
Their claims of an ongoing and underground whole house rental market are false. The descriptions on Airbnb and other short-term rental sites allow the supporters to promote data inaccuracies that are misleading at best. The City of Nevada City assures us that as applications are received, any property that is a whole-house rental is denied. Each accepted or denied application is Ordinance 2015-12 at work.
Supporters of Measure Y seek to take, take, take.
• They took city money in the fight against the B&B industry, still not over because of the litigious habits of Measure Y supporters.
• They took city money to fund an expensive Measure Y on the 2016 ballot.
• They seek to take away the number of rooms our town sorely needs to house tourists, family members, and event attendees.
• They will take away bed tax paid by hosts if Measure Y passes because I will be shut down.
• And they seek to take taxpayer dollars to police the Measure Y regulations.
I proudly paid my first-quarter bed tax to the City of Nevada City in April, as did many other hosts. My neighbors are aware of my short-term rental business, and I have their full support knowing I will manage my business according to City of Nevada City General Regulations, safeguarding the fabric of our precious community, while sharing it.
Supporters of Measure Y try to paint Nevada City Hosts as “self-seekers”.
After reading my story, you judge. Do I give? Or do I take? Then vote No on Measure Y.
Cindy Hintz lives in Nevada City.
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Postmodernism has won the day, and its pernicious effects on our nation may very well mean our demise.