County tightens grip on nightly rentals
by Rose Egelhoff
The Times-Independent
Mar 07, 2018 | 2473 views | 0 0 comments | 57 57 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Former Castle Valley Mayor Dave Erley
         Photo by Rose 			     Egelhoff
Former Castle Valley Mayor Dave Erley Photo by Rose Egelhoff

The Grand County Council has approved a resolution calling for more local control over local land use, including short-term rentals. This comes after H.B. 253, a state law passed in 2017, made it legal for non-permitted rentals to advertise on sites such as AirBnB. Supporters have described the law as a free speech measure; the cities of Moab and Castle Valley — and now Grand County — disagree.

“The passing of H.B. 253 in 2017 has benefited illegal [short-term rentals] while making it more expensive and labor intensive for communities to hold them accountable; therefore the councils strongly oppose H.B. 253,” reads the resolution.

The resolution further notes that, according to the 2017 Moab Area Affordable Housing Plan, 30 percent of housing units in Grand County are short-term rentals or second homes and, “resort communities including Moab, Castle Valley and Grand County have also experienced negative impacts from illegal [short-term rentals], particularly in residentially zoned neighborhoods.”

The county council rejected an earlier version of the resolution that had been approved by the Moab City and Castle Valley councils.

Grand County Council Member Curtis Wells took issue with the original resolution, which did not differentiate between legal and illegal short-term rentals. The original resolution also called for the repeal of H.B. 253, which Wells said could be unwise. Wells said that prompting the legislature to revisit the issue could backfire, resulting in laws that further remove local control over nightly rentals.

Moab City and Castle Valley officials urged the county to pass the original resolution.

“I don’t understand why we can’t have local land-use ordinances that we control in our communities. I hear about Utah wanting local control. I see it as nothing but Salt Lake control right now and I’m not a buyer,” said former Castle Valley Mayor Dave Erley.

Wells and Grand Council Chair Mary McGann worked together to rewrite the resolution, which now differentiates between legal and illegal short-term rentals. Furthermore, the new resolution expresses opposition to H.B. 253 rather than calling outright for its repeal.

“I appreciate the edits. It’s to the point and still includes the reference to the bill,” said Grand County Council Member Evan Clapper.

The measure passed 5-0, with Wells absent. Council Member Jaylyn Hawks recused herself from the vote.

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.