County News

It’s been a month since members of the Village of Oakcreek Association voted against short-term vacation rentals. And so far, there’s been little feedback from either side of the issue.

On Nov. 10, the VOCA board met to discuss and announce the results of a ballot sent to each of their members regarding short-term vacation rentals. Until this summer, short-term rentals were banned in Yavapai County [similar to the ban in Sedona]. Senate Bill 1350 was signed by Gov. Doug Ducey, which overrode any county or city law. It’s to go into effect on Jan. 1.

However, homeowners associations were not included in the legislation and remain in a position to regulate themselves, one way or the other.

Once the votes were tallied, 564 were in favor of banning short-term rentals within VOCA, while 452 were in favor of allowing the practice.

“Of the feedback, which has been mainly verbal, the response has been favorable,” VOCA President Earl Svenningsen said. “In fact, at our Nov. 30 open board meeting, we had a small audience and no one was there to talk about the amendment or short-term rentals.”

Svenningsen, who said they have not heard of any potential lawsuits as a result of the vote, explained why the board was opposed to short-term vacation rentals.

“We are continuing the policy that has been in effect for VOCA for decades,” he said. “With the changing of the Arizona state law, if we were to continue restricting rental of property within VOCA to 30 days or more, we needed to add an amendment to our CC&Rs that stated that.  

“Up to that time we relied on Yavapai County statutes and referred to that statute in our rules and regulations booklet that all VOCA members receive. Before presenting this amendment to be voted upon, we had a public forum on Sept. 9 to discuss the change in Arizona state law and the possible amendment continuing the restriction on short-term rental. At the public forum there was overwhelming support to continue with the existing policy on restricting short-term rentals.”

Now that the ban on short-term rentals will continue, there will be fines imposed for violators. Svenningsen said upon being notified of a violation of this amendment, the VOCA office will send a registered letter to the property owner notifying them of their noncompliance.  

Once received, the owner has 21 days, as per Arizona state law, to rectify the violation. If they are found to be guilty of violating the short-term rental stipulation a second time, they will be fined $250 per day for their refusal to follow VOCA regulations.

The Sedona Red Rock News this week received an anonymous email that in part stated, “The Master Declaration of the Association requires a majority vote of the members of the association. Based on the vote tally there were only 1,016 votes on the proposal. Therefore, in the real world, the measure did not pass because it did not have the majority required by the Master Declaration.”

It went on to state, “I understand that the VOCA manager and board feel that the bylaws requirement of 20 percent of the members voting applies to this recent vote. It does not. In 30 years of running nonprofit, municipal and HOA board meetings, it has always been understood that the bylaws do not supersede the Master Declaration. They are created after the Master Declaration is in place.”

Svenningsen said that at the special meeting on Sept. 9, the amendment was explained to the membership and the voting procedure was outlined.

“The anonymous writer is correct that the Master Declarations takes precedent over the bylaws. However each HOA has different rules that cover changes to the Master Declarations,” he said.
“Our CC&Rs [same as Master Declaration] state that an amendment must be passed by a majority vote in accordance with the bylaws of the association.

“Our bylaws state that a majority of affirmative votes cast shall be required of passage of any resolution and 20 percent of the registered memberships shall have voted to constitute a quorum. We satisfied our quorum and the amendment passed by over 100 votes.”


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