Hurricane extends moratorium on vacation rental ordinance

Hurricane City Council, Hurricane City Council chambers, Hurricane, Utah, Nov. 29, 2015 | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

HURRICANE – Hurricane City’s vacation rental ordinance was again on top of the agenda during Thursday night’s City Council meeting, complete with comments from concerned citizens. The council decided, however, that discussions and an ultimate decision on how to implement the ordinance will take place early next year.

Hurricane resident Brian Sanderson suggested that Hurricane require anyone who would like a license to operate a vacation rental within the city limits take a class that shows them the ropes, calling it a win-win, so that potential hosts are more knowledgeable and run a more efficient operation that is in compliance with the ordinance. Councilwoman Pam Humphries, acting as mayor pro tempore in the absence of Mayor John Bramall, said that Sanderson’s suggestion would be a good idea.

Kendall Clements, of Escape Properties, a company specializing in vacation rentals, came to show his support of the ordinance, saying that he understands Hurricane’s desire to not be overrun by vacation rentals but that it is a great opportunity for the city because there is more demand than supply.

The owner of a currently licensed vacation rental in Hurricane, Gordon Harkness, spoke of his concern of limiting the number of tenants in a vacation rental to 10 people, feeling it was an arbitrary number.

Humphries defended the number, saying it is per fire code.

Harkness voiced his concern that if the ordinance limits the number to 10 then it will not attract families but singles. Families are what the city should want to attract, he said, because when families rent short-term rentals there is less potential for problems.

Harkness asked City Attorney Fay Reber if it would count against the homeowner if the tenants of vacation rentals get in trouble. Reber said no, it would not. Additionally, Harkness felt that the ordinance should not require renters to be out of an on-property pool or a jacuzzi by 10 p.m. but should allow for later outside activity. Humphries said the requirement was part of the city’s noise ordinance.

After presenters voiced their concerns, Reber advised the council against making a decision on the ordinance yet because there are too many questions and issues that still need to be resolved, including how the ordinance would be enforced. The Council should continue the moratorium on vacation rentals for another 60 days, he said, which is set to expire Dec. 18.

Humphries suggested the Council set a work meeting at the next council meeting. A motion to that effect was made and passed. A later agenda item was slated to set the licensing fee for short-term rentals, which was tabled pending further discussion on the ordinance.

Other business

With little discussion, an ordinance for curbside recycling was approved. The blue bins will be delivered in January 2016 and collection will start in February. The consensus on billing was for the recycling and garbage bill to show up as a one-line item on every resident’s utility bill, raising the garbage collection cost by $2.94.

The council passed an ordinance to update the city code to regulate and facilitate the development of bed and breakfast and residential hosting facilities in single family homes, which now permits bed and breakfasts in areas zoned R1-6 and in homes whose access is on a dirt or graveled road, previously prohibited. The council also recommended the Planning Commission look at a conditional use permit for those wishing to operate residential hosting in mobile home or RV zones, which would include mainly stick-built homes and double-wide trailers with adequate parking.

The council also approved the final plat for Phase 1 of Canyon View Villas as well as Phase 1 of Zion Village Townhomes, with an assurance that buyers of Zion Village units would have a community center and pool.

Graduates of the city’s second Citizens Academy were presented their certificates of graduation.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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