North Fork neighborhood has become popular vacation spot and neighbors aren't happy

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In one North Fork neighborhood, there are two homes on the rental site Airbnb and the neighbors said they've disrupted their quiet street. (KFSN)

In one North Fork neighborhood, there are two homes on the rental site Airbnb. The neighbors of the homes said they've both become a major problem by stripping away their sense of tranquility and they are on a mission to get it back.

The idea of a home in North Fork was everything Rick and Kris Hamilton wanted for retirement.

"Peace, solitude, increasing value of your home, good neighbors," said Rick.

All of their neighbors are good, he said, except the one next door.

"They've basically turned that into a hotel," said Rick

The owner, Roger Van Wert, rents his home out to vacationers. He has it listed on Airbnb for $375 a night with room for 12 guests at a time.

"You bring in people who I have no idea who they are, who are disrupting our way of life and diminishing our home value," said Rick.

Hamilton said the people who rent it tend to be noisy and some smoke cigarettes outside-- which is illegal, he said, due to the risk of fire. His neighbors Jeff and Laura Bouche have a similar problem.

"We have definitely lost our neighborhood-- absolutely," said Jeff.

Madera County Supervisor Tom Wheeler said, countywide-- there are thousands of rentals and all that's required is registration with the county, a business license, and a monthly payment for taxes.

"Especially at Bass Lake, it's big money for them and it makes money for us."

He said at the moment the county doesn't have any rules in place to regulate it-- the Hamilton's disagree.

"We have current regulations and they do prevent commercial businesses from opening in residential areas. You wouldn't expect an auto body repair shop to open next to you, so why should I expect a hotel," Kris said.

The neighbors are willing to take the fight to court. In the meantime, the county is looking at rules in place for short-term rentals in other counties and it will be on Tuesday's Board of Supervisors agenda for a closed-door discussion.

The next step, the neighbors plan to confront the county and that'll happen at a town hall meeting on Thursday night at 6:00 p.m.
Related Topics:
societyairbnbrentersrental propertymadera countyNorth Fork
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