Vacation rentals to be discussed at Oct. 4 meetings

Mariposa County is looking to strongly address the vacation rental issue.

Approximately 800 vacation rentals are owned in the county, and although they are a source of income, housing for residents has become an overall struggle.

Mariposa County Housing Development Specialist Ben Goger is working on gathering data/information about these rentals and is planning to host a discussion about the findings on Oct. 4 at that date’s board meeting. According to a Facebook post issued by the board of supervisors on Monday evening, the issue will be discussed at “9 am or shortly thereafter,” although a specific time was not listed. In many cases, other business is handled at 9 am before the board gets into its regular agenda items.

It has been in the works for some time, as was stated at last week’s Mariposa County Board of Supervisors meeting.

District 5 Supervisor Miles Menetrey asked if there was a way to have the discussion sooner, and Goger didn’t believe this was possible.

He said the subject has been pushed back several months and wished to see it at the Sept. 27 meeting.

He noted the negotiation of the Whispering Pines property located in Midpines has removed 16 low-income units.

The property negotiation was first discussed during an August supervisors meeting when Goger proposed a change to the agreement.

There are several different deed restrictions on the property dating back to 1990; one is with Housing and Community Development (HCD) and another is with the county.

Goger said one restriction stated a certain part of the property would include affordable housing for a minimum of 30 years, but the agreement “didn’t quite have clear language.”

Menetrey said he has received many emails from people asking when the issue with vacation rentals and the lack of housing will be fixed. Some of those emails are from people who resided at the Midpines property. “I’m ready to vote in that direction today,” he said.

Goger said he appreciates Menetrey’s comments and understands the urgency, but it is important to have accurate data and findings for the board.

Referring to the Whispering Pines property, he said the county has very low interference ability on the contract as the negotiations are between two private parties.

Menetrey said there is now an influx of people looking for somewhere to live and it is important to stop vacation rental applications as soon as possible.

District 4 Supervisor Wayne Forsythe agreed, although he did appreciate Goger doing his homework and said it is more important to have accurate information.

Clerk of the board of supervisors Danielle Bondshu said she and Goger agreed on an Oct. 4 date to work together on gathering data and preparing for the discussion.

Mariposa County Health and Human Services Director Joe Lynch asked those who were impacted by the negotiations to reach out to Amy Woodward from the Landlord Partnership Program at (209) 966-2000.

He noted that it is better to assist people with paying their rent than to have them be displaced.

Items to be covered at the meeting will be the physical characteristics and economics of the industry and the loss of community housing stock and mitigating measures.

If you require special accommodations to participate in the public hearing, contact Bondshu at dbondshu@mariposacounty.org or (209) 966-3222. If you are unable to attend the public hearing and would like to provide comments on this item, you may direct written comments to the clerk of the board at PO Box 784, or you may email board-clerk@mariposacounty.org.

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