Las Vegas Sun

February 21, 2019

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Residents of high-rise oppose rental ordinance

The Ogden

Las Vegas Sun

The Ogden condominium building in downtown Las Vegas.

Residents of a downtown high-rise turned out today to once again ask the Las Vegas City Council not to pass an ordinance that would open the building to short-term rentals.

About a dozen property owners in the Ogden condominium building attended today’s council meeting to oppose the ordinance, a companion to a measure passed last year by the council restricting short-term rentals to owner-occupied residences and then only one residence per city block.

No one spoke in favor of the ordinance, which would allow 5 percent of units in high-density, multi-family dwellings to be rented through Airbnb and similar platforms.

Under the current ordinance, only one unit at such structures could be licensed for use as a short-term rental, due to the one-per-block restriction.

But representatives of owners of condos at the Ogden told council members that the residents who live there full-time and own their properties shouldn’t be treated differently than owners of single-family residences elsewhere in the city.

Jeff Belcher, a member of the high-rise’s homeowners association, said he and his husband “bought a luxury condo, we did not buy a hotel.”

Las Vegas attorney Kevin Christensen, the other representative for residents, said renting out 5 percent of the building’s 275 units would lead to security risks and heavy traffic to the building’s shared swimming pool, gym and other commons areas.

“If each of those were to invite just three guests every week, that would be another 168 unknown guests in that facility each month,” he said.

Considering that the units are six inches apart and that some interior condos are surrounded back and front, up and down and diagonally by neighbors, he said, noise from parties at short-term rentals could have an “exponential” impact on some residents.

Councilman Bob Coffin, who sponsored the ordinance, moved to postpone a vote on it until next month after announcing to the council that the Ogden’s HOA board was preparing to vote on whether to allow short-term rentals.

“I want us to butt out for a little while until we see the results of this election,” he said.

The council ended up doing just that on a 4-3 vote but not before several council members criticized the measure and expressed support for the residents.

Councilman Stavros Anthony said the new ordinance was “completely different” from the first measure and appeared to be focused just on the Ogden. He said it affected property owners there unfairly.

“I think it’s illegal,” he said. “We have people who live in the Ogden, bought residences in the Ogden, so if we’re going to have STRs, you can’t have one set of rules for one group and one for another.”

Coffin said the ordinance would not apply solely to the Ogden. Afterward, however, Belcher said residents have yet to be told of any other property that would be affected.

With the postponement, council members will consider the ordinance again in mid-February.