A controversy is brewing in Jerome, Arizona.
The town council in the northern Arizona community has announced a ban on people offering their homes as short-term vacation rentals.
Goldwater Institute Staff Attorney Jared Blanchard says it’s something that’s happening all over the country.
“As property owners begin to use websites like VRBO and Airbnb to rent their properties as vacation rentals, vested interests like local hotels and people who just don’t like vacation rentals come in and try to shut the place down,” Blanchard said.
Four homeowners have filed a notice with the town that their constitutional rights are being violated. Blanchard said that under Arizona’s voter-approved Proposition 207, governments are required to pay property owners when new regulations reduce the value of their property.
Blanchard said that the town council is claiming that such rentals have never been allowed. He said that just isn’t true.
“This really looks like an attempt to avoid paying property owners for the destruction of their property rights,” Blanchard said. “That’s just not legal.”
Blanchard is requesting a meeting with the town council.
Jerome Mayor Lew Currier declined our interview request. He did, however, send KTAR this email response through Jerome Town Manager Candace Gallagher:
Thank you for the opportunity to respond. Following is a statement from our Mayor, Lew Currier:
Obviously, as the lawyers retained by a number of property owners who own and operate short-term rentals, which are commercial in nature despite being located in residential areas, it is the Goldwater Institute’s job to portray this issue in the light most favorable to their clients. As a Council, we recognize that the Goldwater Institute would not be doing its job if the comments to the media were presented in any different light. And they certainly would not be doing their job if they balanced their rhetoric with any number of the valid concerns expressed by this Council or the majority of Jerome’s permanent residents.
That being said, we as a Town Council certainly see things differently. More importantly, as evident from the referendum taken out on this issue last year, we know that a number of our residents see things very differently from how the Goldwater Institute has portrayed them to be.
While we as a Council could certainly respond to each of the Goldwater Institute’s allegations, we believe the best course of action is to reserve comment and allow this matter to resolve itself through the administrative and legal processes.
This is not an issue that can or will be resolved by competing press releases. Rather, this is an issue that needs to be vetted through the appropriate processes, giving those decision-makers an adequate opportunity to consider the facts and apply the law.
For these reasons, we as a Council will be withholding further comment on this matter until the administrative and legal processes have been exhausted.
– Mayor Lew Currier