MIchael Wilkie: Grass Valley short-term rentals discussion seeks to fix what’s not broken
November 26, 2017
An open letter to the city of Grass Valley:
The existing Grass Valley ordinance prohibiting residential rentals for less than 30 days is simply tried and true and has served us well for many years.
In part, proof of this is the very few complaints about violations. To overturn that ordinance to allow short term transient rentals defies common sense.
As you know already know, the short term rental ordinance in Nevada City is a failure and the attached articles about Glenshire & South Lake Tahoe illustrate the problems there too. In addition, these problems are not just limited to California, they are rampant throughout the country, as is the case in Fort Myers, Florida.
In an article from The Union, you acknowledged the expectation of problems with the "honor system" and not having enough staff for a new ordinance that would legitimize short-term rentals. And these are only two of the problems to be expected. Although converting a residential property into a short-term rental is a profit center for the operative, where is the "win" for all the other residents of Grass Valley?
What about opening the city to legal challenges like other communities have experienced? Public comments, and I understand the emails and phone calls to you, too, have all been heavily in favor of not allowing short-term rentals.
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So why would you force this upon us?
There are three wise adages that so aptly apply to not over-turning the existing ordinance:
"Don't let the fox guard the henhouse" — in other words putting the operatives on a "honor system" is doomed to fail.
"K.I.S.S." (keep it simple silly) — the existing ordinance is simple and works well so why mess things up with a new, multi- faceted ordinance that at best would be difficult to enforce?
"Don't fix it if it isn't broken" — with very few complaints under the existing ordinance, why "fix" what's not broken?
Therefore, along with many others, I respectfully petition you to do the right thing and abandon the senseless idea of legitimizing short-term rentals.
Michael Wilkie lives in Grass Valley.
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