The Mesquite City Council will be having a public hearing on short term rental ordinances on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at their regular meeting. Public notices were sent to some residents, primarily those who live in communities that are currently inundated by transient vacation rentals. This ordinance affects all residential neighborhoods in Mesquite, such as single family, multi-family, HOA, non-HOA, etc.
I believe most Mesquite residents are unaware of the potential impact of these proposed ordinances to their neighborhood. A majority of HOAs have rules that only allow for rentals of six months or more. This is by design to prevent the problems that are inherent with transient rentals in residentially zoned properties. There is a reason Las Vegas and most Nevada communities have very strict regulations regarding transient rentals.
It is important that all Mesquite residents be aware that their neighborhoods could be overrun by transient rentals. The proposed ordinance provides homeowners no say on the matter and there are no limits on the number of short term rentals that can exist in any residential development. Once a conditional use permit is granted to one owner for transient rentals, the city would have to grant permits to all applicants in that development. The ordinances provide that owners or agents be located within one hour of a problem rental but many bad things can happen in that hour. In dense developments like condominium neighborhoods with common areas, it is impossible to tell which unit owner or manager to call if people are causing problems. The ordinance does not provide for any security requirements. The only alternative in these cases is to call the police.
Residents should be aware that two council members have recused themselves from the discussion and voting, admitting to conflicts of interest. A third council member, Mr. George Rapson, claimed at the last city council meeting that he had no involvement in the issue and would not recuse himself. Mr. Rapson is a broker salesperson with Premier Properties of Mesquite. This agency manages a large number of transient rentals. The simple fact that he has his license at Premier Properties means that he is aware that Premier Properties manages transient rentals and transient rentals (rentals less than 21 days) are illegal, violating current zoning laws. His direct work relationship with Premier Properties is a clear conflict of interest. If he does not recuse himself, he puts the city and these proposed ordinances in legal jeopardy. One would think that this should cause the city attorney some real concern.
I am at a loss to understand why the City of Mesquite reneged on its original agreement to amend the current ordinance to allow enforcement of the law, making city ordinances consistent with county and state law. Instead, we are now heading down the path of implementing new ordinances which will benefit a few and have adverse effects on many homeowners. The city never enforced the current ordinance which prohibits transient rentals. The proposed new ordinances would place additional demands on city resources that are already limited. Without adding staff, how can they enforce these new, more onerous ordinances? It won’t happen.
In closing, the residents of the city of Mesquite would be better served if the council would devote more time and energy to attracting good, long term businesses that create good permanent jobs. Jobs create economic growth as an alterative to the limited capability of our tourism industry. People will buy homes, spend money, stimulate businesses and form a basis for our existing businesses to thrive. In addition, these people will create demand for businesses to locate or expand to Mesquite. There are hundreds of alternatives but focusing on call centers, light industry, distribution centers, etc. would make a huge difference in the lives of current and future residents. Those companies are out there – just looking for the best alternatives. The city can and should play a key role in promoting this growth, rather than focusing on one industry, tourism (and transient rentals).
I strongly urge all Mesquite residents to attend the Oct. 23 council meeting or contact the city council to express their opinions on these ordinances.