THE CONTINUED PUBLIC HEARING on a County-initiated Zone Amendment to adopt a new Short-Term Rental Ordinance was discussed during the Sierra County Board of Supervisors’ meeting held September 20th in Loyalton. Planning Director Tim Beals stated at the first public hearing on September 6th a number of comments were heard. Key points included the language requiring property to be owned for 2 years before property owners could engage in a permit for short-term rental. When the effective date of the ordinance would be. Request renewals not be every year or two years to lighten the load for annual permits and staff time. He said there was a question about official notification as it refers to property in good standing. Septic problems would be under an official notification. Dogs, noise, and congestion were also mentioned. The Public Hearing was closed after no additional comments were made. Supervisor Lee Adams appreciated the Planning Commission and the time they spent on this. He stated he would rather get this close to correct not fast. Adams was concerned with the 2-year issue but realized much of life is timing. Adams felt if owners were openly operating now and within the two-year time-frame they should be able to continue to do it after the ordinance is passed. Board Chair Paul Roen wanted to make sure they get the ordinance correct. He thought if owners are in compliance with all county standards and have permits in place before the ordinance is adopted they will not need to abide in the 2-year waiting period.
Enforcement was discussed for those that have been operating Airbnb’s unlawfully. Auditor Van Maddox stated they need to have something that clarifies if they’ve been cheating they are out or frozen until fees are paid and they are in good standing. Cheating on Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) would be one the clauses to have permit suspended and precluded from reapplying for 1-2 years. Other language to be put in the ordinance include, a permit is not transferrable and there will be a two-year moratorium once sold. Permit term is based on performance. Staff will bring back an association of cost and fees will be established before the ordinance is in effect.
The Board agreed by consensus to clean up the ordinance language and bring back to the next meeting on October 4th for approval.