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As a result of two new state laws, the Sedona City Council voted to do away with an ordinance dealing with accessory dwelling units. But not before it took advantage of a
seldom-used option.

During the Dec. 13 meeting, council went into executive session during the item to discuss the matter with City Attorney Robert Pickels. When this happens, the council and staff adjourn to the Vultee Room at City Hall away from the public and media.

It was 14 minutes into the discussion of the item when Councilman Jon Thompson made a motion to meet behind closed doors.


“I have to say, given the importance of this — not withstanding all the work that went into our ADU ordinance — and the long-term ramifications of [Senate Bill] 1350, as well as the threats of losing funding if we don’t do this right, I would really like to have a private session with our attorney,” he said.

Prior to the vote to enter into executive session, Pickels said because of the potential for litigation depending on the direction council chose to proceed, he was not comfortable discussing the issues in detail in open session.

Once they returned, council had three options — do nothing and face being in conflict with state law, modify it to adhere to state law or as staff recommended, remove it completely. They voted unanimously to repeal the portion of the Sedona Land Development Code dealing with ADUs.

ADUs are generally considered to be a small residential unit providing complete living facilities with provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation. They are built on the same lot as the primary single-family home and smaller in size.

Senate Bill 1350, which was signed into law in May, allows for the short-term rental of single-family homes and preempts city ordinances, which currently prohibit this type of use in single-family residential zoning districts. In order to avoid a violation of this bill and thus trigger Senate Bill 1487, it is necessary for the city to amend applicable regulations to ensure compliance with state laws, a city report states. SB 1487 says that if a town is in violation of state law, funding to that town can be withheld until the violation, determined by the state attorney general, is remedied.

Based on SB 1350, the city can no longer prohibit single-family residential properties from being used as short-term vacation rentals. Relevant residential properties include, but are not necessarily limited to, single-family dwelling units [one to four units], guest homes, accessory dwelling units, condominiums, cooperatives and timeshares. The Land Development Code restriction of single-family rentals for less than 30 days can no longer be enforced and those provisions will be removed from the applicable residential zoning districts in accordance with SB 1350.

The report says that allowing long-term occupancy of ADUs enables homeowners to offer separate living units to family members as well as providing additional rental options without significantly affecting the quality and character of the neighborhood.

Because the primary purpose of allowing ADUs originally was to provide long-term affordable housing options and because SB 1350 negates this provision, staff recommended that the ADU ordinance is no longer appropriate and recommended repealing the ADU ordinance of the land development code, the report says.

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