Sonoma County Vacation Regulations

This is one of several updates to all guests in all areas considering vacation rental stays in Sonoma County.  The PRMD department (permits) is making moves to make vacation rentals restricted and we believe eventually illegal in Sonoma County.  This means a traveler’s choice is limited to B & B’s, hotels, campgrounds and RV parks — no more houses — a real limitation for families.

At the root of this movement is Sonoma Valley, which has two sensative areas, one on Hoff Road and the other in Sobre Vista.  Apparently the noise and complaints were so out of hand that Supervisor Valerie Brown was called at night with complaints from the neighbors.  Upon looking into this further, however you will find hyper sensitive neighbors, blocking driveways, screaming at guests, and even installing security cameras to ‘catch’ illegal activity (not drugs mind your or not noisey parties, but things like excess vehicles, swimming in the pool after 10 p.m. and other ‘offenses’ along this venue).  One neighbor even complained to the Board of Supervisors about a wedding coming up in a month with 100 people and invited them to come look.  It turned out that the wedding was an owners best friend, not even a vacation rental guest.

The Press Democrat published an article on vacation rentals which sung the praises of these complaints, and painted a picture of out of control parties, weddings, events, thievery, etc.  This simply isn’t true.  Of over 800 noise complaints in all of Sonoma County (not just vacation rentals, but ALL noise complaints), only 30 were in sonoma valley, and almost none in the coastal or river areas.  That’s for a whole year mind you, and of those, a handful were for vacation rental.

Homes that are managed well either by a mangement company like Healsburg Property Management or Sonoma County Vacations, or a single homeowner who is actively involved with their rental typically do not have the problem, rather it’s the owner who throws up their product on VRBO and let it rip!

We are working with the board of supervisors and the tot board, and the PRMD and have established a code of conduct for both vacation rental guests and owners, to respect quiet time, neighbors, cars parked in the area, trash pick up, etc.  In the 20 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve never had theft at the home or in the area, and our guests have quieted down when called.  Generally it’s first night excitement in being all together, not to be unruley or difficult to neighbors.

It’s further been discussed that folks come from out of the area and don’t give a damn what they do when they’re here.  That’s simply not true.  As a rule of thumb we’ve not only had respectful guests, but they’ve often participated in charity events, come to live here, helped support our communities financially and even bought a 2nd home themselves.

Please write the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors and explain how you’ve handled yourselves during past stays, taken care of the home, been respectful of the neighbors, etc.  If you don’t want to see vacation rentals go away, it’s very important!!!  The Supervisors do listen!

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