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Clark County’s short-term rental license lottery still a go

Clark County is moving forward with a lottery to determine which homeowners will get the limited number of short-term rental licenses being issued.

The process continues despite a District Court ruling that declared portions of the county’s short-term rental ordinance as vague or unconstitutional and while prospective license-holders continued to ask the county to rewrite the rules with their input.

There are an estimated 10,000 houses in Clark County used for short-term lodging.

The current rules, including one that limits licenses to 1 percent of the county’s “housing stock,” will leave out 80 percent of the renters, opponents say.

A six-month application window closes Monday.

The applications will next go into a “random draw” system conducted by the same firm that the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board used to issue licenses for operators of standalone marijuana consumption lounges, Vincent Queano, director of Clark County’s business license department, told the commission during a Tuesday presentation.

Smartplay International Inc. is conducting the “random number selector,” while the Baker Tilly U.S. LLP consulting firm is certifying the results.

The March 29 proceedings conducted in the commission’s chambers will be closed to the public but livestreamed, Queano said.

Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson already allow short-term renting, and a state law that legalized them reversed a ban in unincorporated Clark County.

District Court Judge Jessica Peterson last month declared several parts of the ordinance to be vague, and or unconstitutional, including: the signing the business license under penalty of perjury, inspections with little or no notice, vague definitions of what constitutes a “party” or a disturbance and the issuance of “discretionary fines and penalties.”

Peterson then granted an injunction in favor of the Greater Las Vegas Short-Term Rental Association, which last summer sued Clark County and Nevada.

She also dismissed counterclaims filed against the association and Jacqueline Flores, the president and director of the organization, which represents 700 homeowners in the county.

The judge did not address the entirety of the association’s lawsuit claims in the injunction, which included the limits to the number of licenses.

During public comment, Johnny Dortch pointed out the court’s recent ruling.

“It’s disheartening because we tried to warn the county about the illegalities of this law, this ordinance,” he said.

“We’re gonna go to the Nevada Supreme Court and you guys will lose there as well, and then you guys will not be able to charge anything and then the entire ordinance falls apart.”

Dortch said the short-term renters don’t oppose regulations.

“We’re willing to work with you, so work with us,” he said.

Flores said the county should’ve worked with the short-term renters from the beginning but said her organization was pleased with the court order.

“We’re hoping that now you’re able to understand what we’re talking about, and now you’re able to come to the table to work with us,” she said.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow @rickytwrites on Twitter.

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