Jones calls for city ban on short-term rentals
Paradise City Councilwoman Jody Jones does not want short-term rentals within city limits, calling on the city to create an ordinance that would zone those out of town.
The comments came in a discussion where staff asked council if they wanted changes to their Paradise municipal code for the creation of short-term rental zoning bylaws to present at a future council meeting.
Community Development Director for Planning and Onsite Susan Hartman told council the city had a discussion on the topic before the Campfire in 2017, noting that around the same time the county was reviewing also his prescription.
Hartman said there are 12 locations in Paradise that are short-term rental locations, which are typically places that rent spaces for less than 30 days at a time.
Hartman used four examples of what Paradise could do citing Grass Valley, Redding, Placer County and Butte County. One of the reasons Hartman is considering an ordinance is that the city doesn’t receive the transient occupancy tax from most of these short-term rental locations in paradise.
Jones said the reason she was interested in banning such rentals is that they could negatively impact affordable housing in Paradise.
Jones said later in the meeting that while the council was not interested in outright banning such short-term rentals, she wanted to cap the number of short-term rentals in Paradise.
She pointed out that any transient lodging for less than 31 consecutive days is subject to the 12% tax, a tax the city collects from motels and hotels, and Hartman said an ordinance would level the playing field.
Councilor Greg Bolin brought up the subject of the TOT tax and wanted to know what the city does with the TOT revenue, which currently goes into the general fund. He pointed out that the city used to fund the Chamber of Commerce with that money, but no longer does.
“Personally, I’m only one of five but I’d like to see a proposal on what the TOT funds go to,” he said. “I mean, I don’t think we collect money, I just throw it into the general fund.”
This prompted Mayor Steve Crowder to ask how much money the TOT tax creates for the city. However, the city’s chief financial officer/treasurer, Ross Gilb, didn’t have that number in mind.
That’s when Jones said Hartman failed to address his biggest concern about this part of the private economy.
“And that’s the impact of short-term rentals on housing affordability, people who buy them, because they can make a lot more money renting them on VRBO or wherever they can rent the house or sell home,” she says, adding that’s why she objects to two short-term rentals.
“For the most part, if it’s a single-family home on a short-term rental. I have no problem with the glamping tents we have, or the Feather River Canyon units. But I don’t want to see people buying the single-family homes in our city. And so, personally, I would like to see a total ban on that.
Councilor Steve “Woody” Culleton said he shared Jones’ concerns calling it “terrible” the act of buying a house and then renting it out as a short-term rental instead of selling it.
While he doesn’t know how the city could prohibit someone from buying a home, he asked how would they know someone is in the short-term rental business unless they have a prescription that gives him a way to find out.
Councilor Rose Tryon, saying she tries to see things both ways, noted the property rights issues involved.
“I can see a property rights issue so people on the property can do what they think they should do with their property or what to do with their property,” she said. “And I think there’s a lot of opportunity there. I mean, if somebody has to live outside of our area for a while, and they want to rent out their house, and then come back and live there later.
She also said these rentals could be used for workers who need short-term housing while helping rebuild Paradise. And she said she understands Jones’ concerns, but there may be “guardrails” in the order to minimize some of those concerns.
Hartman told council that staff would bring back a set of proposals for council to consider before presenting a formal order to the Planning Commission.
New fire truck
On Tuesday night, Paradise City Council unanimously approved a move that will see the purchase of a Type One Pierce Enforcer fire truck. In addition to purchasing the new fire truck, he also authorized the disposal of the old one in an effort to qualify for a grant from the Butte County Air Quality Management District.
The new $920,000 fire truck will be purchased using that city’s $570,000 general fund reserves and another $350,000 from the Measure V fund.
The decision to scrap the 2002 Pierce Type 1 fire engine could result in a $64,824 BCAMD reward.
The Board also unanimously approved a request to enter into a contract with Motorola Solutions for the purchase and installation of a new dispatch radio system and related equipment, subject to the approval of the city attorney.
The decision is part of the process of re-establishing a dispatch center in Paradise. Paradise Police Chief Eric Reinbold told council the dispatch center would be placed in the Engine 81 radio room.
He added that the reason they are now seeking approval is that the time frame for this system to be in place is around 28 weeks and Reinbold hopes to have the dispatch operational by early 2023.
Currently, Paradise Police and Cal Fire-Paradise are being sent out of Oroville following the 2018 Camp Fire. The board approved the purchase, despite a $230,633 increase in system costs over the course of the last year.