Michael Wilkie: An open letter to the Grass Valley Planning Commission
January 14, 2018
I understand that Development Code Amendment 17PLN-35, as it relates to inflicting our residential neighborhoods with short term rentals, is slated for your meeting on Jan. 16.
Unfortunately, I will be out of town that day so I am writing you to have the opinion of the silent majority heard and myself heard.
While the amendment allowing short-term rentals in residential zones has been pushed by Vice Mayor Lisa Swarthout and supported by other council members and I understand that you, planning commissioners, have been appointed by them, I presume that you are independent thinkers who can make your own informed decisions based on common sense.
After attending council meetings on short-term rentals, watching video of other meetings, and following this in our local media; reasoning put forth by the council seems to be this is a trendy, chic thing to do to keep "up" with Nevada City. However, that is just hogwash as the Nevada City ordinance is a compliance failure and needs reworked. Further, turning our residential neighborhoods into commercial short-term rental operations with a new ordinance, by the council's own admission, would be unenforceable. In other words, the purported tax boon will not happen and all the inherent problems with short-term rentals other communities have experienced such as parking, loitering, trash and obnoxious behavior will be out of control.
As the discussions the council had about short-term rentals glossed over the important issues needing restrictions that have plagued all the other communities that allowed these, it seems like the discussion is just for show. At a minimum, the council should have openly and thoroughly addressed each of these issues, just as you should too.
In any event, I hope to convince you that short-term rentals will not be good for Grass Valley and that you need to completely vote them down.
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Michael Wilkie lives in Grass Valley.