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Proposal to regulate Heber City short-term rentals fails

Heber City

Plans to limit full home, short-term rentals in Heber’s downtown area were scrapped by its city council on Tuesday.


Heber City Council has been discussing possible ordinances surrounding nightly rentals like Airbnb and VRBO in the city for about a year. The council last night agreed that owner occupied rentals should be allowed in all parts of the city, however.


Complaints regarding full house rentals in residential neighborhoods have led the city to consider limiting them to a 24-block area near Main Street and Center Street.  


A Facebook poll conducted by the city on the issue had 285 respondents. The poll showed that 52% of respondents believed rentals should be limited to zoned areas while 48% believed they should be permitted in all areas. Without a clear directive from citizens, the council discussed their options.


Council member Mike Johnston said he previously supported restricting full home rentals to a zoned area, but has since changed his mind. 


“I think it's best to permit it in all areas and just do it under licensing,” he said. “That is what we did with accessory dwelling units. We didn’t get bogged down in ‘well, what neighborhood would those go in?’ We just said—this was probably 15 years ago—accessory dwelling units are valid in anybody’s house. Under these conditions: size, parking, safety, and it has worked extremely well.” 


Council member Ryan Stack said he supports the downtown zone requirement. 


“My concern is with the units that are not owner-occupied. You don't have the same set of incentives in place for somebody to ensure that you have peaceful, quiet, short-term tenants that protect the integrity of the neighborhood. I like what staff has proposed with the draft ordinance to require in the downtown zone we've looked at. With a property management company that is somewhere here in the County that can respond to concerns.” 


The council voted to move forward allowing full home rentals within any area of the city, with all members except Stack voting in favor. 


The council does still plan to implement further regulations on all short-term rentals through a licensing process. Potential regulations include quiet hours, street parking, and use of a property management company for full home rentals. 

KPCW reporter David Boyle covers all things in the Heber Valley as well as sports and breaking news.
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