Rio Dell City Council adopts vacation rental regulations

City hopes to get get ahead of demand for permits

The Rio Dell City Council moved forward with a vacation rental ordinance Tuesday night. (Times-Standard file)

The Rio Dell City Council adopted new regulations on vacation dwelling units at their Tuesday evening council meeting in a 3-2 vote. The regulations were set into motion after a resident attempted to apply for a vacation rental permit, illuminating the lack of regulations in this area.

“We don’t have many of these vacation properties,” said Kyle Knopp, the city manager. “We’re trying to have these regulations in place (before the demand increases),” he added.

The impacts of vacation rentals on the city of Rio Dell were debated during the meeting. Councilman Gordon Johnson previously objected to removing provisions governing the visiting hours and occupancy requirements of vacation rentals in Rio Dell.

“I’m opposed to this ordinance for a couple of reasons,” Johnson said.

One of Johnson’s primary concern was the possibility that patrons of short-term rentals could reserve a rental for two people, but end up having large numbers of visitors.

Councilwoman Sue Strahan raised concerns at a previous meeting over the wording of a section in the ordinance regarding the administration of the vacation dwelling unit permits, stating that it seemed unnecessary. She also felt that vacation dwelling units ought to be regulated like regular rentals.

“It seems this should fall under the same guidelines as a regular rental unit in the town,” Strahan said.

The new regulation requires that residents interested in “vacation dwellings” to submit for a business license for vacation dwelling units.

The regulations, according to a city report are expected to “generate some transient occupancy taxes.”

Community Development Director Kevin Caldwell estimates there are less than five vacation dwelling units in Rio Dell currently. He said the cost for the licenses will be either $31 or $64 depending on the anticipated income of the vacation dwelling unit.

“I hope it’ll generate some additional tourism,” he said. “Even if we’re taking baby steps to bringing people to the city of Rio Dell, it’s a good thing.”

Philip Santos can be reached at 707-441-0506.

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