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It’s time to allow single-family home rentals

May 29, 2013

I attended the council meeting in December 2012 and voiced my support of providing single-family homeowners with a pathway to TOT compliance.  The council voted at that time to commission a study of the issue. 

We are still waiting for a decision on the issue, but I understand there may be some new movement with the new support of Mammoth Mountain CEO Rusty Gregory and Snowcreek. 

Now is the time for the town council to finally show some leadership and move forward on this issue.

If the council is still wary of a cross the board measure, the council should move forward with a smaller scale, proactive trial study group. 

The initial group would consist of 40-50 single family home owners, who would pay for the appropriate business license, open their homes up for safety code inspections, and collect the TOT for renters that stay less than one month. 

The town would provide a limited use permit or variance to current zoning rules, and would monitor during the trial period for neighborhood complaints, and assess the increased TOT revenue that is received during that period.

I have researched my neighborhood C, C, & Rs, and there are currently no restrictions on single-family home rentals in place. I understand some neighborhoods have recently seen proposals to change their C, C, & Rs to allow for nightly rentals.   

I have obtained the concurrence of my immediate neighbors for such a proposal. 

Even though I advertise my residence as “monthly rental only,” I continue to receive numerous inquiries from interested guests that want the experience of an affordable single family “cabin” in the woods. 

I have always carefully vetted these potential clients.  The vast majority of the inquires are families on extended vacation, European couples, fishermen in the summertime, seniors, and parents and families with children in winter ski schools and clubs. 

These clients have expressed in emails that they DO NOT want to stay in a condo, Snowcreek, the Village, or a hotel, and they can’t afford Tallus. 

They do not understand when I write to them to explain the current restrictions against nightly rentals for single family homeowners, and often relate they will plan their vacation in Yosemite, Big Bear, Tahoe, Bishop, or Park City. 

I know there is a vocal group of residents who continue to object to nightly rentals. 

Most of them seem to have connections to the lodging association, who continue to believe these guests would stay at one of their properties.  In my experience, this has not been the case.  The issues identified by some Mammoth town residents (parking, partying, substandard and illegal housekeepers, etc.) have not been my experience. 

My residence has a two-car garage and long driveway to accommodate guests who have never parked on the town streets, and our neighbors have never complained about our monthly rental guests. 

I would continue to carefully vet any new clients. Our current housekeeping needs are met by a local bonded and licensed company that currently services legal condo rentals and monthly rental properties. 

The bottom line is many potential guests are being turned away, and I would GLADLY pay the TOT, increasing the revenue generated by the town for its important city services and infrastructure.   

The above proposal is a limited way the town could move forward with selective home owners that meet certain criteria.  If you monitor the activities of the members of this initial study group for one year, you will see increased revenue, rental transparency, and positive feedback from guests.  The town would be also be able to carefully assess any legitimate complaints received by resident neighbors.  I know other home owners similarly situated that would sign up for this initial focus group. 

I urge the council to adopt a creative measure like the one outlined above that provides a pathway for single family homeowners to comply with their TOT obligations for short term rentals. 

Christopher Kuemmerle

Mammoth homeowner and taxpayer

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