February 8, 2024 - 5:57 pm
A pair of contentious local issues took another step toward the inevitable public-comment-period showdown this week as Boulder City officials posted notices of proposed changes to city code in regard to animal breeding and short-term rentals of residences.
The proposed changes in regard to animal breeding would establish a license for breeding within Boulder City. The cost of the annual license would be set at $500. Breeding without a permit would expose the breeder to fines starting at $500 and increasing to $1,000 on the third and subsequent offenses. Each day of violation would be counted as a separate violation.
When the issue was first raised in a city council meeting back in June of last year, several local residents spoke in favor of the city establishing a licensing option for some residents desiring to do limited breeding of purebred animals.
Samantha Jenkins is the resident who first brought this subject up during public comment in a previous meeting. “Responsible, legal and lawful dog breeding is not to over-produce genetically inferior animals for financial gain,” she said. “Being a responsible breeder is a specialized hobby that requires legislation in the supporting jurisdiction.
“People love home-bred dogs because there are rules in place ensuring quality animals who do not have health issues, who have desired traits and are raised in a home environment that prepares animals to be loving, life-long best friends for children, families, veterans and all others.”
At the June meeting, Animal Control Supervisor Ann Inabnitt disputed the value of allowing breeding, noting that the dumping of animals in Boulder City had increased by 100-fold in just a few years and that a significant number of dumped dogs are purebred.
“I have 10 dogs at the shelter now and eight of them were dumped into our community and, interestingly enough, seven of them are purebreds,” she said.
On the subject of short-term rentals, the city is proposing to change city code in two ways. The first would officially define a short-term rental as one that lasts for a period of less than 30 days (28 or 29 days in February). Under the proposed changes, any property owner found to be renting out for less than 30 days would be subject to a $100 fine, which would increase to $500 for the third and subsequent offenses. Each day that the violation continued would be counted as a separate offense. Under that scenario, a property owner who rented out for only weekends (two days each) could be subject to fines of $3,000 or more in the course of a single month.
To review the legal situation in Boulder City, in most other Nevada municipalities, state law requires that officials develop rules to regulate and allow STRs. But, as a member of the state Senate in 2021, then senator and now Boulder City Mayor Joe Hardy shepherded in an exception to AB383, which allowed jurisdictions with a population of less than 25,000 to prohibit STRs. During a special meeting of the city council devoted to the STR issue, Hardy said, “It’s my fault. AB383, during the legislative session in 2021, this bill came up and I had the opportunity to amend the bill so that it would not apply to Boulder City. So my district could have their autonomy to do what they wanted to do. I do not want Clark County or another municipality or somewhere else in the state being in control of what we do in Boulder City.”
While STRs are not currently the subject of a city law outlawing them, they are still technically prohibited. Title 11 of the city code says that any property usage that is not specifically permitted is prohibited and STRs are not, by code, a permitted use. This has not stopped about 20 property owners in Boulder City from doing business as STR hosts. Some owners have reported that they bought property specifically to use it as an STR and some own multiple STR properties in BC.
One local resident, Dain Szafranski has already taken the issue up the ladder, filing an official complaint with the Nevada attorney general alleging that the council has violated state open meeting laws in their discussions about STRs. The office of the attorney general notified Boulder City staff in December that an investigation had been opened. According to City Clerk Tami McCay, the city filed a response to the complaint denying the allegation on Jan. 18 and has not yet received a reply from the state.
For both issues, as they may affect businesses within Boulder City, a Business Impact Statement has to be prepared to evaluate how the proposed fines and fees might impact local businesses. Residents can provide feedback on that subject until March 1 by using an online form found at https://www.bcnv.org/fees or by emailing email@example.com.