Boise council moves new vacation rental ordinance forward

The Boise City Council heard details about a new vacation rental ordinance that would apply to rentals found on such sites as Airbnb and Vrbo.

The Boise City Council heard details about a new vacation rental ordinance that would apply to rentals found on such sites as Airbnb and Vrbo.

kjones@idahostatesman.com

Mayor Lauren McLean’s resurrected version of a short-term rental ordinance will get a full reading before the Boise City Council in the coming weeks, the latest development in one of Boise’s most controversial ordinance proposals.

The ordinance, as presented Tuesday, would still require operators of short-term rentals to obtain an annual business license with the city. It would cost $80 and require such information as the owner’s address, contact information and proof of insurance. Council members moved the ordinance forward on a 4-2 vote.

The latest vote came a month after council members rejected an earlier draft of the ordinance, with some expressing concerns about the requirement for a detailed floor plan and the penalty of a misdemeanor for those who violate the ordinance. It followed several hours of heavily divided public testimony, mostly from short-term rental operators who argued it would lead to more stringent ordinances down the line.

The new ordinance differed slightly from its predecessor: It no longer includes a requirement for owners to submit a floor plan of their rental and a list of amenities in the house.

Two council members, Patrick Bageant and Luci Willits, made it clear that any vote supporting the ordinance would not be unanimous, as both voted against moving the legislation to a full reading.

Bageant reiterated his fear that an ordinance would violate a 2017 state law prohibiting the regulation of the short-term rental market, except in cases of ensuring public safety.

“For me, the shoe doesn’t fit in the short-term box on the harm side,” Bageant said.

Council President Elaine Clegg said she trusted the advice of the city’s lawyers that the ordinance did not violate the law. Other council members noted that Idaho cities like Sandpoint and Rexburg already had similar rules in place.

While a public hearing was held for the ordinance in January, it is not guaranteed to receive another at a future meeting. Council Member Jimmy Hallyburton said another hearing would more than likely lead to comments similar to those already received.

“I don’t think another public hearing would guide us in a different direction,” Hallyburton said.

The ordinance will now be added to the council’s reading schedule. It must be read three times before the council can enact it.

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Joni Auden Land covers Boise, Garden City and Ada County. Have a story suggestion or a question? Email Land at jaland@idahostatesman.com.

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