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cityofsedonalogo.gifIn the face of possible lawsuit, the Sedona City Council delayed voting on a new ordinance that would make it illegal to advertise short-term rentals in the city.
By Greg Ruland
Larson Newspapers

In the face of possible lawsuit, the Sedona City Council delayed voting on a new ordinance that would make it illegal to advertise short-term rentals in the city.

The council unanimously agreed Tuesday, Nov. 13, to put off further consideration of the new law in favor of a second opinion from outside legal counsel.

The move was prompted by a letter from a Florida lawyer to City Attorney Mike Goimarac arguing both the existing ban on short-term rentals and the proposed ban on short-term rental advertising are unconstitutional.

The council directed Goimarac to hire outside legal counsel to review the matter.

Richard G. Rumrell, lead attorney for the St. Augustine, Fla., law firm of Rumrell, Costabel, Warrington & Brock, wrote to Goimarac, suggesting a lawsuit could be forthcoming.

Rumrell wrote, “We are writing this letter to obtain an opportunity, before expensive and protracted litigation, to ... assist Sedona in avoiding substantial damages to pre-existing real property, contract and constitutionally afforded rights of our clients.”

Rumrell said Wednesday, Nov. 14, that unless his clients’ property rights are protected from the effects of the short-term rental ordinance, a lawsuit could be necessary.

“The purpose of the letter we wrote was for the city to defer taking action on the proposed legislation and to cease from enforcing the unconstitutional provisions already enacted,” Rumrell said.

Rumrell said his firm is fighting short-term rental bans in the Florida towns of St. Augustine, Venice and Key West, all considered resort towns like Sedona.

Doug Fitzpatrick, a Sedona lawyer with offices in the Village of Oak Creek, appeared at the council meeting Tuesday and will assist Rumrell’s firm as local counsel.

Rumrell declined to identify his clients in Sedona for fear they could be “targeted.”

Goimarac, Sedona’s city attorney for the past 12 years, called Rumrell’s letter, “saber rattling.”

“I think the City Council made it clear last night that we continue to stand by our existing ordinance,” Goimarac said. The city will continue to enforce the ban on rentals of less than 30 days and will make every effort to educate residents about the law, Goimarac said.

The city of Sedona’s Land Development Code states that renting single-family, mobile, multi-family or manufactured homes “for periods less than 30 consecutive days is prohibited.”

Renting for less than 30 days is a Class 1 misdemeanor and carries a maximum fine of $2,500 and up to six months in jail.

About a dozen residents spoke against the proposed ordinance at the council meeting Tuesday, according to City Manager Eric Levitt.

“The mere fact that we didn’t pass the ordinance prohibiting advertising should not be taken as some sort of signal that the city is slackening on its enforcement efforts,” Goimarac said.

Greg Ruland can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 127, or by e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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