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Community Courage

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Did you hear the big news?!

Last week Paradise Valley Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner signed a new ordinance to amend our town code regarding short term rentals. The Town Council voted unanimously 5–0 in favor of the new changes.

Here’s a quick rundown:

Because Paradise Valley police have reported most nuisance complaints coming from short term rentals (STRs) late at night, noise will now be prohibited from 10 PM to 7 AM. This rule applies to noise that is “plainly audible from within two or more enclosed residences or the cabin of a police vehicle situated on a public right-of-way.”

STR owners will now be required to disclose their name, contact info, property address, advertising platforms, and booking dates. This information will all be available to the public.

STR owners must register with the Town of PV. Violators will be charged $150 per day for “unregistered renting.”

STR owners must attain background checks on renters. This ensures no registered sex offenders are renting the property.

STR owners must have liability insurance and local phone service.

I would like to thank Mayor Jerry and so many others who had the courage and resolve to push forward relentlessly to get this done. Many of our fellow PV citizens unselfishly devoted hundreds of hours over the past two years to make our lives better. It reminds me of a quote by Benjamin Franklin…”You may delay, but time will not.” Mayor Jerry and his team didn’t delay, knowing this problem would only get worse over time. 

Back in 2019 I wrote about how wrong it was to allow “Neighborhood Motels,” which are essentially businesses in residential zoned neighborhoods. At the time I didn’t realize how much effort it would take to address the problem. I’m accustomed to making business decisions one day and acting the next, not navigating the time consuming, consensus demanding political and legislative process. 

My job has been easy…writing a few articles and speaking at a couple events to give my opinion. Mayor Jerry and countless others behind the scenes made the sacrifice and did the heavy lifting.

In a recent article, Mayor Jerry was quoted as saying, “Our citizens have spoken. The most pressing issue facing our residents is the disruption caused by short-term rentals in our neighborhoods. They also disproportionately burden and expose our police and other first responders to risk.”

It couldn’t be said better. 

The courage, commitment, and hours of work by so many in our town make me even more proud to be a Paradise Valley resident, surrounded by so many awesome people. 

Town council member, Mark Stanton, observed, “After a great deal of input from the public, our council has clearly stated that the status quo is not acceptable. These amendments restore some balance between the rights of the STRs and the rights of the community.”

I also want to thank state representative Aaron Lieberman (who is now running for governor) for attending several events with me, recognizing the problem throughout Arizona. He drafted the first legislation to repeal SB1350, the misguided state law that prevents communities like Paradise Valley from preventing STRs altogether. 

Commenting on the statewide problem, PV resident Bill Hunter said, “These new amendments are an important first step toward making our community safer, but we still need comprehensive statewide reform to fix the huge problems with rogue STRs in Arizona.” 

I agree with Bill. As I mentioned in one of my articles from 2019… “The state legislature passed a law preventing Arizona communities like mine (Paradise Valley) from prohibiting short term rentals. Communities had better act quickly to control them because constitutional ‘grandfathering’ could make it legally impossible to ‘outlaw’ these neighborhood businesses once they get going.”

Now that PV has set the precedent for closely controlling STRs, I hope other Arizona towns (Sedona is severely affected) will now have a regulatory template to mitigate (since they can’t eliminate) the problem. Roman poet Ovid once said, “Happy are those who dare courageously to defend what they love.” It’s clear that PV citizens are courageously defending what we love…our community.

My position against investor owned STRs in quiet residential neighborhoods is not popular among many in my industry…real estate. Prohibiting STR businesses might diminish the number of buyers and sales. But that’s a short term view. Diminishing the livability of a community would definitely result in fewer buyers, fewer sales, and ultimately lower property values over the long term.

It takes bravery to speak out. 

It takes work without recognition. 

It takes individuals banding together. 

That’s what I call “community courage,” and it’s clear there is no shortage of it here in Paradise Valley. 

– Greg Hague (a better way for home sellers) (a better way for Realtors)