Last updateFri, 21 Oct 2016 5pm

LAH officials nix transient occupancy tax proposal

A number of factors played into the decision by the Los Altos Hills City Council last week to abandon pursuit of a local short-term rental tax. But perhaps the most persuasive argument arrived via a July 13 webinar, “Best Practice for Ensuring Short-Term Rental Ordinance Compliance.”

In New York City, the compliance rate of short-term rental permitting is 25 percent, according to the webinar, a production of local government management company iCompass. In San Francisco, the rate is 24 percent. In Hallandale Beach, Fla., it’s just 1 percent.

Mtn. View council considers competing rent control ballot initiative

Members of the Mountain View Tenants Coalition make themselves heard – and noticed – prior to the July 14 city council meeting at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. Courtesy of the Mountain View tenants coalition

Backers of a charter amendment proposal for rent control are unhappy with the Mountain View City Council’s July 14 vote to proceed with a competing rent control ballot measure on the Nov. 8 ballot.

“What a message to be sending to their people,” said Juliet Brodie, an attorney representing the Mountain View Tenants Coalition. The group, comprising tenants struggling with rising rents, introduced a Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act in April. The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters validated the necessary signatures required to put the act on the ballot – on the same day the council elected to push a dueling measure.

Short-term rental debate could change Hills muni code

Los Altos Hills’ municipal code does not, in fact, permit short-term rentals like those offered through Airbnb and VRBO. But residents tonight have an opportunity to advocate for – or against – an ordinance change as city councilmembers debate the subject at their specially scheduled meeting.

“We think it’s important that the council hears both sides of the issue because ultimately, they’re going to be making a decision about whether to move forward,” said Suzanne Avila, city planning/building director.

Los Altos council officially renames corner Veterans Community Plaza

At the urging of supporters, Los Altos City Council decided 3-2 at its July 12 meeting to rename the downtown Community Plaza in honor of U.S. veterans.

The mostly concrete plaza, located at the intersection of Main and State streets, will be called Veterans Community Plaza.

Survey seeks Hills residents’ input on short-term rentals

Leading up to the Los Altos City Council’s specially scheduled meeting Wednesday (July 20), town officials are soliciting resident opinion on short-term rentals like those offered through companies such as Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO.

Los Altos Hills logo

The town Friday (July 15) published a four-question survey about the contested topic at www.surveymonkey.com/r/YRCPGGY. The survey will remain active until noon Wednesday.

Although scores of Los Altos Hills residents list their homes through short-term rental websites, legal counsel recently interpreted the city’s municipal code as not permitting the practice.

“The attorney’s office stated that short-term rentals are a commercial use that is not specifically listed as an allowed use,” wrote Steve Padovan, city consultant planner, in an email to the Town Crier.

“The attorney’s office added that the council is looking at potential regulations for short-term rentals at the July 20 meeting. Thus, further clarification of the use of homes for short-term rentals will be discussed at that time.”

Wednesday’s meeting will also likely cover the proposal to add a TOT, or “transient occupancy tax,” on short-term rentals if an ordinance is passed to allow them. The discussion begins at 6 p.m. at town hall, 26379 Fremont Road. A copy of the meeting agenda is available online at http://bit.ly/29OQ4pJ.

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