Sonora Council Meeting Recap
Sonora, CA — City leaders in Sonora passed new restrictions for AirBNB rentals, approved fees for events at Dragoon Gulch Trail, praised a local effort to raise money for police equipment, and agreed to reconsider indoor rules for masking at city owned buildings.
All of the items were discussed at Monday’s meeting. By a vote of 4-1, the council approved a final reading on new rules and restrictions for short-term rentals. It was noted that in the past two weeks only 2-3 long-term residential rentals have been available in the city, and there has been a trend of Bay Area residents purchasing homes to then rent out short-term on AirBNB. For example, the new rule limits short-term rentals to the primary residence of the owner. The owner can only be away from the rental, having it un-hosted, for 120 days per year. It also mandates onsite parking and prohibits things like weddings and other special events. There is currently a moratorium on new short-term rentals in the city, and the rule changes will take effect in 30 days.
The Board also unanimously approved fees for special events at the Dragoon Gulch Trail. It will cost $150 for events with 50 to 100 participants, $500 for up 250 people and $750 for over 250. City staff noted that the revenue is needed to maintain the trail and reduce its fire risk. Mayor Matt Hawkins said that the cost to hire baseline inmates from the prison for maintenance work recently increased from $200 all the way up to $3,000. Councilmember Colette Such and Mark Plummer added that if events are held it prevents others from using the trail, so the fee offset the inconvenience of displacing others from using it.
The council also unanimously decided to reconsider its masking policies at city owned buildings. Currently, those who are fully vaccinated can self-attest that they have received the COVID vaccine, and don’t have to wear a mask. The council gave consensus that it will re-evaluate the situation at a future meeting.
The Council also gave special recognition to Faith Hamilton for her senior project raising $8,000 to buy every police officer on the force a load bearing bulletproof vest. On November 13, Hamilton will complete the second half of her project by hosting a fundraising dinner to purchase a K9 patrol unit for the PD.