91°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Las Vegas City Council delays vote to expand short-term rentals

Updated January 16, 2019 - 7:39 pm

A proposal to regulate short-term rentals in Las Vegas multifamily developments was criticized Wednesday by residents of a downtown high-rise who cast the measure as a reversal in the long-standing fight against illegal home-sharing.

The bill, sponsored by Councilman Bob Coffin, would allow 5 percent of all units in a development to rent out homes for fewer than 31 days, a practice that has risen in popularity with the advent of platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway.

It was a companion bill to an ordinance passed last month that limits new permits to owner-occupied homes and set a distance of 660 feet between vacation rentals.

But Coffin’s bill would recalibrate how officials regulate quantity in high-rises, removing the distance requirement in exchange for percentage, while also eliminating the owner-occupied provision that probably will drastically reduce new short-term rentals in neighborhoods.

For residents in The Ogden, the polestar of opposition to illegal home-sharing, the proposal would undo the goodwill reached by the original bill, which most believed was a compromise to calls for an outright ban.

The downtown high-rise maintains 275 units on 15 residential floors and has one legal short-term rental in the building. A 5 percent provision would allow up to 13.

“You have an ordinance before you that doesn’t increase the protection but significantly and dramatically decreases the protection” of quiet use and enjoyment, said Kevin Christensen, an attorney who represents opponents of short-term rental expansion.

Coffin, who successfully lobbied Wednesday to delay a vote, said the bill was meant to push The Ogden’s homeowner’s association to officially address short-term rentals.

“It’s a brute-force method to get them to amend their (covenants, conditions and restrictions),” he said later by phone.

The association is reportedly voting on amendments this week. Jeff Belcher, an HOA board member who “strongly opposed” the bill, told the council that the amendments would give the board more enforcement power on illegal home-sharing.

Councilman Stavros Anthony, one of three council members who shot down delaying the bill and sought to kill it, denounced the “un-American” spirit of the measure for its central focus on The Ogden.

“That’s not fair. That’s not right,” Anthony said. “And in fact, I think it’s illegal to actually do that.”

Coffin rejected that the bill targeted The Ogden, saying that it applies to all multifamily developments and noting the city’s legal counsel would never draft an illegal proposal. He said “there was no way to predict” whether the bill will pass, although it might act as a template to amending the current rule.

The bill must be voted on by Feb. 20, or it will die.

Courthouse funding

The council approved issuing general obligation building bonds not to exceed $40 million to pay for the new downtown municipal courthouse southeast of City Hall.

That money will be combined with $23.5 million that Las Vegas will receive from Clark County buying the city out of its lease at the Regional Justice Center, where city courtrooms are located, officials said.

The new four-story municipal courthouse comes with a $59.3 million price tag approved by policymakers in October.

Developer Molasky Group of Cos. is the contractor for the nearly 140,000-square-foot facility expected to start construction in May and finish before January 2021.

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
The Right Take New Education Funding Plan - VIDEO
On Monday, Senate Education Committee chair Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, released a new education funding formula. For years, many Democrat politicians have criticized the current education funding formula, called the Nevada Plan. They claim it’s old and outdated. Their biggest beef is that it doesn’t allocate more money for students who are English Language Learners or live in poverty. The theory is that it’s harder to educate those students and so they need additional services, which costs additional money.
Al Gore Speaks At UNLV About Climate Change - Video
Former Vice President of the United States Al Gore talks to an audience at UNLV about the effects of Climate change and how to switch to renewable sources of energy.
Forum on Wages and Working People Highlights - VIDEO
Presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, and John Hickenlooper speak in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nevada Politics Today Valerie Weber - VIDEO
Valerie Weber sits down with Victor Joecks to discuss her policies and why she is running for Ward 2 of the Las Vegas City Council.
THE LATEST
Las Vegas Council welcomes 3 new members

Election victories last month by Brian Knudsen (Ward 1), Victoria Seaman (Ward 2) and Olivia Diaz (Ward 3) have altered the makeup of the Las Vegas City Council.