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Sonora Ends Prohibition On New Short-Term Rentals

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Sonora, CA — With a 4-1 vote, the Sonora City Council took the final step toward eliminating an earlier approved prohibition in place since 2021 on short-term rentals, like those rented through apps like Airbnb.

At the time, the move was an effort to preserve the availability of long-term rentals in the community as short-term rentals were seeing a spike in interest during the COVID pandemic. In making the change this week, the city is also putting in place new rules for short-term rentals. A notable provision is that a local contact person must be available by phone on a 24-hour basis and have the ability to be at the site within 30 minutes. The contact person could be the operator of the short-term rental or a professional property management company. There will also be set quiet hours between 10 pm -7 am on weekdays, and 10 pm – 8 am on weekends.

A city business license will be required to have a short-term rental and an additional application fee of $140 must be paid. There are also stipulations related to trash collection, parking, holding events, smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, and noise. Operators must also pay city-imposed transient occupancy taxes. Permits will be processed through the city’s Community Development Department. Bad actors in violation of rules could face penalties ranging from $500-$1,000 per day.

The vote was 4-1 to approve the changes. Council member Andy Merrill was the lone vote in opposition.