Council Learns Airbnb Hosts Not Following Short-Term Rental Ordinance; Receives Kids Kingdom Update

If Redding’s Airbnb operators were reviewed on their compliance with the city’s 9-month-old vacation rental ordinance, most would be lucky to get one star.

“We need to do more outreach,” stated Larry Vaupel, Redding’s director of development services, while updating the Redding City Council Tuesday on the efforts to regulate, and tax, homeowners who rent out rooms on a short-term basis.

Larry Vaupel discusses Redding's short-term rental ordinance.

Larry Vaupel discusses Redding’s short-term rental ordinance.

Adopted with a unanimous vote in February, the ordinance established guidelines for two types of short-term rentals: hosted homestays for those who rent out a room in their home and vacation rentals for those who rent out their entire residence.

The hosted homestay operators are required to sign an affidavit with the city, provide an off-street parking space for each room, collect a 12 percent Transient Occupancy Tax and they are limited to 180 rental days a year.

In addition to the parking and tax requirements, vacation rental operators are required to obtain a permit and pay a $300 fee. They are not limited to 180 rental days a year.

Here’s the rub: So far, the city has collected 28 hosted homestay affidavits and issued 18 permits for vacation rentals. However, Airbnb—a popular Web site that matches visitors with willing hosts—had some 265 Redding properties listed as of mid-September.

“We have a ways to go before we gain full compliance,” Vaupel said.

To improve compliance, Vaupel said the city will participate in the next quarterly meeting of Airbnb hosts to distribute brochures explaining the ordinance and letters will be sent to those permitted operators to ensure the transient occupancy tax is being paid.

Additionally, Vaupel said the city will continue to encourage current hosts who are “champions for our community” and see the benefits of short-term rentals to use social media avenues to urge their peers to comply.

Both Airbnb and a similar business, ivisitredding.com, have not been cooperative in helping city staff get the word out, Vaupel said in his report. Operators of ivisitredding have declined to provide notice of the ordinance but they did suggest the city buy an advertisement on their site.

The ordinance does not deal with property owners who rent out rooms for periods of 30 days or longer—typically homeowners renting out rooms to students for a school year—which is the source of most complaints received by the planning department, Vaupel added.

Robert Bohannon was the lone speaker on the issue and he told the council that a vacation rental home in the area “drastically affected the quality of life in my neighborhood” with constant issues of noise, littering and illegal parking. “We the citizens are being marginalized … the opportunity for these interlopers to operate with impunity is out there,” Bohannon said.

Vaupel said the house in question was being rented out to students on a long-term basis. He is working with City Attorney Barry DeWalt to determine how best to address longer-term rental situations.

In other action Tuesday, the council:

Kids Kingdom update

–Received an update from Kim Niemer, director of community services, on fundraising for new equipment at the popular Kids Kingdom playground in Enterprise Park. To date, some $266,000 has been raised. The playground equipment is expected to cost $310,000.a3

The latest effort, “Slide the City,” a chance to ride a water slide down the Placer Street hill, “was a huge success” and raised $16,000. Niemer said the Sept. 17 event attracted more than 5,000 people with 1,980 electing to slip down the 1,000-foot water slide.

 

Councilwoman Francie Sullivan said she wanted to offer a “shout out” to Rocky Slaughter for putting in the legwork to get the Slide the City operators interested in Redding. Slaughter was greeted with considerable derision when first pitched the water slide idea in 2015, but his perseverance helped put Redding on the map, Sullivan said.

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Mayor Missy McArthur was one of the first to try out the slide and Vice Mayor Brent Weaver said the smiles on his children’s faces, as well as the smiles on others in attendance, gave ample proof that it was a great event.

Photos by Jon Lewis.

Jon Lewis
Jon Lewis is a freelance writer living in Redding. He has more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. Contact him at jonpaullewis@gmail.com.
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15 Responses

  1. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    Rentals. The city has ordinances to enforce. Enforce them. It’s not obvious why anyone would think that it’s a private company’s responsibility to “get the word out.”   ivisitredding.com’s response strikes me as highly apropos.

    Kids Kingdom. Great job Rotary, Redding Rancheria, Revive Redding, and all you other R’s and non-R’s who are closing the gap on $300k.

  2. A Brady says:

    “The ordinance does not deal with property owners who rent out rooms for periods of 30 days or longer—typically homeowners renting out rooms to students for a school year—which is the source of most complaints received by the planning department, Vaupel added.”

    The city is gutless when it comes to things “Bethel”; they won’t try to curb the complaints generated from the church’s “college” students rentals possibilities. COR depends on their volunteer labor hours (required by the “college” of their attendees). So, those of you in residential areas that are inconvenienced by the religious masses and their cars, suck it up. They are good for the economy. Those of you trying to help the city and your own pocket-book with short-term rentals, pay up and do the paperwork. Meet the requirements, stat. The Bethel folks doing the student rentals are more important– and totally unregulated.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      There are elements of the ordinance that apply to long-term rentals to Bethel students, such the 180-days-per-year limit and the requirement to provide a parking space for each room rental, but I doubt that they’re being enforced.  Every single complaint I’ve heard about houses on residential blocks being turned into rentals relates to Bethel—not just the number of renters, but the fact that many of the rent homes host regular meetings during which the local street (including mine) suddenly looks like San Francisco or Berkeley.

      If the City is looking for someone to get the word out regarding compliance with the ordinance: Bethel.

    • Breakfast Guy says:

      And sure enough, the production crew who recently recorded the ‘State of the City (River of Success) Address’ happen to be … Oh boy.

  3. trek says:

    Same owners that don’t report their guest bookings also bitch about Trump not paying any tax’s!

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Nobody is bitching about Trump not paying taxes—we all know he pays taxes.  They’re bitching about him not paying federal income taxes. He thinks that paying federal income taxes to support our nation is for chumps—he claims that he’s smart for avoiding it. (Conversely, the rest of us are dumb losers for failing to avoid paying income taxes.)

      Yet Trump enjoys the benefits derived from income tax revenues that the rest of us enjoy—much of that in the currency of national security, which makes up the majority of federal discretionary spending (and he wants to increase military spending).

      The guy is a bloated blood-sucking leach.

      • MondoBlondo says:

        Steve, name calling suits liberals to a tee because they have no other way to express what they do not know.  Do you know why Trump did not pay Federal income taxes for a time? There is a legitimate reason and I will leave it to you to do the research as it is your duty to glean the truth from a media bent on bias and spin.  I doubt you will make the effort because it just may be outside of your comfort zone to handle the truth.  I will add this, Trump employs 14,000 people who do pay Federal extortion, I mean tax.  How may people do the Clinton’s employ?  I forget…  other than themselves that is.

        • Barbara Rice says:

          Hey guys –

          Name calling of any sort is unwelcome here. Please tone it down.

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          Mondo — No, I don’t know why Trump (probably) didn’t pay federal income taxes, and neither do you.  That’s because he refuses to release his returns, likely out of embarrassment.  Because he refuses to reveal the truth, he invites speculation.  The speculation is that he lost so much money in the 90s with his casino ventures that he’s been able to write off all of his profits since then.

          As for how many people the Clinton’s employ in total, I don’t know.  The Clinton Foundation employs 2,000, according to their annual reports.

  4. JeffG says:

    Why is it such a surprise that only law abiding folks comply with derivative regulations aimed at fixing existing unenforced regulations?

  5. cheyenne says:

    Homeowners have always rented or traded vacation rooms or houses for a long time.  It is now that they are advertising on the internet instead of in travel magazines.  Airbnb regulations are popping up everywhere as cities from Redding, Prescott, Aspen, Jackson and others are setting regulations for Airbnb hosts.  The cities are looking at new tax revenue or have received complaints from neighbors.  It has nothing to do with Republicans or Democrats except for those who see conspiracy everywhere.

    It is the new normal.  People supplementing their income by renting rooms in their houses, driving for Uber, selling on EBay or other internet sites.  What will be next, and has already started in some cities, are officials looking to tax garage sales.

  6. Rob says:

    Nice…like THIS should be priority right now..wth is wrong with you people. How about prioritizing actual problems that are affecting everyone like the ongoing crime and homeless fiasco you have created

    • Beverly Stafford says:

      Amen, Rob.  Reminds me of Congress spending/wasting time on voting on yet another national holiday to observe some obscure something-or-other like Take Your Neighbor’s Parrot to Work Day.

  7. K. Beck says:

    RE: The Slide

    http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article106314952.html#wgt=trending

    AM Alert: Water board discusses drinking wastewater

    BY TARYN LUNA

    tluna@sacbee.com

    Let’s talk about drinking (treated) pee. [if only that is all that is found in “wastewater!”]

    California is in the midst of a multi-year drought and just last week forecasters admitted to having no idea if the upcoming wet season will actually bring any rain. With water scarcity a major concern in California and beyond, recycling wastewater to drinkable standards is evolving from idea to reality.

    The state commissioned a panel of experts through the State Water Resources Control Board to determine if it’s possible to develop standards for recycling wastewater into a drinkable source. Short answer: It’s doable, but we need to conduct more public health research first.

    The water board will present a draft of its findings and invite public comment at a workshop at the California Environmental Protection Agency headquarters on I Street at 1 p.m. today.

    ————

    All the while the farmers are digging more ground water wells. Has no one heard about the dust bowl? It is mind boggling.

    Glad everyone had so much fun!

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Shared use of water—including water used for recreation—is part of the solution, not the problem. At the end of the slide event, the water was recycled. The water wasters are individual luxuries such as green lawns—those should be reserved for parks.  Walk around your block here in town—every green lawn you see is a waste of water. Multiply that by thousands of houses in Redding.