Tempers flare at Clark County town hall on short-term rentals

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) — On Thursday night, the public weighed in on what regulations should look like for short-term rentals in unincorporated Clark County with a looming summer deadline.

More than 100 people attended a town hall hosted by Commissioner Justin Jones at the Desert Breeze Community Center.

County lawmakers are seeking public comment on a state law that will require the county to allow short-term rentals in unincorporated Clark County. The deadline to promulgate the regulations begins July 1.

Some of the regulations include the minimum distance between short-term rentals, limits on the number of guests, and the number of permits one person can hold.

Many people pointed to the regulations already in place set by Henderson, the City of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas.

Airbnb host Neiw Anuson said if the county tries to restrict the number of permits each host can have, it will drive hosts underground.

“When you restrict more things, you force more people to grow. When you force more people to hide, that’s where bad hosts usually go. My suggestion is to give away as many permits as possible, use the permit money to crack down on illegal hosts and bad hosts,” Anuson said.

At a town hall meeting hosted by Commissioner Ross Miller on Tuesday, a state lawmaker said there were 10,000 illegal short-term rentals in southern Nevada.

A short-term rental host by the name of Benjamin spoke up and said that every Airbnb host is an owner and went on to say, “I don’t see any of you complaining out there willing to donate $1,500 a year for a commercial license to do this and bring the city $400 million.

Tempers then flared between this host and an unknown resident.

The resident said ‘it’s not about money – it’s about neighborhoods’, while the short-term rental host said ‘every county needs money to live on – and we are ready to give this money to the county”. At one point Commissioner Jones stepped in to break up the heated argument.

Johnny Dortch thinks the rules will be challenged by owners.

“My biggest concern for the future is that they’re instituting absurd laws that basically go – practically causing us all to go back underground,” Dortch said.

Commissioner Jones talked about enforcement and how he dealt with the issues.

“Chief Anderson and I are the ones who wrote the order originally to try to clamp down and increase enforcement authority following the district attorney’s office saying we couldn’t do it – that’s why we went to the Legislature so I’ve been there in the neighborhood a number of times,” Commissioner Jones.

Code Enforcement Chief Jim Anderson reached out to contact his office.

“So our office is open six days a week, we’re open on Saturdays, we take complaints on Saturdays, and my short-term rental team works Saturdays for code enforcement because that’s when that we have to be there and so we respond Once we get the complaint, if you pass it on to us, it’s not a one-time response where we go to see if we can find it and if we don’t we’re not doing, we’re leaving. We’re keeping this open and active because there’s evidence, there’s publicity, there’s a lot of stuff we’re doing, and then we continue to keep this file open until that we get compliance, so yeah, we had an open case a few years ago in case it was tough, but we’re not stopping,” Anderson said.

The county said there may be more public meetings in the coming months.

County officials say one way to provide feedback is to submit an email to [email protected].

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