Clark County hosts town hall on short-term rental regulations

With legalization of short-term rentals in Clark County an upcoming certainty, the conversation shifted to best practice regulations.

“We’re trying to get the right policy in place,” Commissioner Ross Miller said Tuesday night.

Miller hosted the first of two town halls this week inviting the public to weigh in on how county lawmakers should set rules for the home-sharing business, made popular on platforms including Airbnb and VRBO, before a State-imposed deadline of July 1.

If the public meeting inside the chambers of the commission were any indication, the “law” is a subjective objective.

Some have suggested that lawmakers lift a distance requirement intended to prevent a proliferation of short-term rentals. Others have called for Mount Charleston to be excluded from the regulations, worried about the potential for fires and the remoteness of the northwest mountain community from policing.

Ed Uehling, a regular commentator and frequent critic of the government at committee meetings, blamed the fact that the state law passed last year requiring the county to regulate short-term rentals was intended to benefit hotels resort, highlighting the 2,500 foot distance required between a rental and a hotel.

“It’s a total lie to say it’s for the protection of the community,” he said.

But the law came in response to the failure of the county’s outright ban on the short-term rental market. There are an estimated 6,000 to 12,000 homes currently in operation even though they are unlicensed, officials say.

The law was also based on the idea that regulations could both protect neighborhoods and pave the way for the legalization of landlords, according to MP Rochelle Nguyen.

Nguyen, the architect of the law, reiterated that the legislation received bipartisan support as she and Miller listened to several people speak during the roughly 90-minute town hall. In a sign of “robust” turnout, as Miller had described it, at least a handful of attendees were unable to comment until after the town hall.

The county invited the public to comment by emailing [email protected]

Some rules are imposed by the state, such as a ban on short-term rentals in apartments and a ban on parties and other large events. Elsewhere, the county has local authority, including determining the number of licenses to be allowed and enforcement policy.

Last week, county lawmakers discussed creating a lottery system and limiting the number of licenses to around 2,800.

Another town hall, to be hosted by Commissioner Justin Jones, is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Desert Breeze Community Center, 8275 Spring Mountain Road.

Contact Shea Johnson at [email protected] or 702-383-0272. To follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

Michael J. Chiaramonte