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Jan 18, 2019

Welcome to our new series - What The? We answer over 96,000 questions every year on social media. That’s a lot. This short-form series will tackle some of our most frequently asked questions.

In Episode 9, we wonder can a fire hydrant freeze? What happens if there’s a fire in freezing temperatures? We also talk about the changes to Short Term Rental regulations. Can you still have an AirBnB in the city? Listen and find out or continue reading below.

Fire Hydrants: Do They Freeze In The Winter? 

Recently, there was a water main break downtown that caused minor roadway flooding as we experienced unseasonably cold weather. A fire hydrant was being installed which led some to wonder if Las Vegas Fire & Rescue has an issue putting out fires if fire hydrants freeze?

Well, it turns out that we use dry hydrants which means there is NO water in the hydrant when it is off meaning they won’t freeze when temps drop. The pipe from the hydrant connects to the water main which is far enough underground that it insulates the pipe from the cold air.

Our firefighters check our hydrants once yearly and we maintain them ourselves, we even have a special hydrant maintenance truck and crew. They are fixed immediately if we receive word they have been damaged. if the hydrant is yellow, it is a public hydrant and we maintain it.If the hydrant is red, it is a privately owned hydrant and the owner is required by fire code to keep it maintained.Red hydrants are usually on private property or on the street in front of the property where the person who purchased it, maintains it.

The hydrants you see on TV like in Los Angeles where the water comes out when a car hits it is a wet hydrant.They have water all the way to the top of the barrel.It never freezes there so they do not worry about it freezing up.

We do not use those in the Las Vegas because of the possibility of freezing temperatures during the winter. We always brag about our awesome winter weather and daytime temps are usually nice in the 50s and sometimes 60s but it can and does get cold at night, especially during periods of lower than normal temps. Recently, temps dipped into the high 20s at night.

So now you know. Even in the winter, you don’t have to worry about Las Vegas Fire & Rescue being able to put out a fire because fire hydrants have frozen up. But if and when there does happen to be a water main break in the winter that causes black ice, you can bet on everyone driving crazy.

Short Term Rentals 

So let’s talk about what the?!?! Is up with short term rentals.

At the December 5, 2018 City Council meeting, new regulations were passed pertaining to short term rentals, or rentals less than 30 days, on sites like Airbnb. Short term rentals are now only permitted if the owner is present in the home, including overnight, and they must be three bedrooms or less. They must be 660 feet from another short term rental and comply with licensing regulations pertaining to things like noise and parking.

Many of our listeners may not realize that short term rentals are illegal everywhere else in Clark County including the city of Henderson and unincorporated Clark County which includes the neighborhoods around the Strip. But this has been an ongoing issue for our City Council and governments around the country. Here in southern Nevada, there are thousands of homes listed on Airbnb at any one time so it has been a hard issue to stay on top of enforcement wise.

In some of the older parts of town especially, tourists would rent out large houses with lots of bedrooms and party there all weekend. Residents in the area don’t like it and made sure their voices were heard by participating in a variety of public meetings leading up to this last meeting.

IF you do meet the requirements and want to list your home, then you submit for a Conditional Use Verification and submit for your business license.As part of the Business Licensing process the applicant will have to have a home inspection performed by a member of our Code Enforcement section. It costs $500 annually plus a $50 processing fee. You’ll still appear before our planning commission and potentially the city council.

Short-Term Residential Rentals have been allowed in various ways since 2008.This most recent change has made these approved Short-Term Residential Rental locations nonconforming, planning term for grandfathered status.When most of these go away they will not be able to be replaced with new operators. If your home was approved under old regulations, you can still operate as long as you don’t get any violations.

If you’re having an issue with a short term rental in your neighborhood, whether related to a licensed or unlicensed location, should be directed to the Short-Term Residential Rental Complaint Hotline – 702.229.3500.Calls should be placed while a disturbance is occurring so staff can document and take necessary action. Unfortunately, most of the calls that come in to our hotline are for homes that are in the county. You can check the location at lasvegasnevada.gov/citylimits

The City Council is still looking at new ways of managing Short-Term Residential Rentals in the city and future amendments may be presented in the near future.So we’ll see what happens but for now, they are only permitted in very, very limited circumstances.

if you want to hear more about the issue, you can listen to a past episode where we took a deep dive into this topic. Get details on short term rentals at lasvegasnevada.gov/shortterm