Letter To The Editor: One Simple Question

Los Alamos

The first set of County Councilors I asked varied in their opinion.

One stared off toward the Sangres. The other asked me if it was really such a big deal to have strange cars parked in front of the house? The look on his face gave me the impression he thought I was a bored busybody.

The next set of Councilors I asked told me my question was pointless because there was no such thing.  The thing in question was Air BnBs and the question was whether for legal purposes they are required to abide by the same set of standards as traditional Bed and Breakfasts in Los Alamos County. The second set of Councilors smiled and said that while Air BnBs didn’t exist they both were on the Tourism Board.

I asked two more Councilors the following summer at the Farmers’ Market and received still different answers. One remained silent while the other seemed interested but had no clue such establishments could operate within the County without a business license. They referred me to the County Development Department whose opinions on this matter are far more bizarre than the Councilors. I asked a final set of Councilors this question last summer explaining how I had been trying to get an answer for a long time.  They pretty much just dissed all the other Councilors.

So why bother? Why ask questions? The Air BnB near me stopped operating early in the Pandemic but its last few months in business were memorable. We live down a canyon frequented by large predators.  When guests at the establishment would park in front of our house and cross over to where they were overnighting, they often were within feet of big furry things. I began asking Councilors about the County’s rules after watching one too many hapless out of towners staring down at gadgets nearly fall over bears.  It was amusing but dangerous.

So why not call Game and Fish?  The animal paths are pretty ancient and there is always another big cat or bear. For my family’s sake, I felt safer with those I knew.

We have rules for a reason. You buy property with a certain set of expectations. Will you be able to enjoy your investment, or will something happen in your neighborhood which detracts from your pleasure — a nuisance business or maybe your favorite morning walk gets, well, altered drastically.

If you raise objections or look for answers, will you be treated like a bored housewife or even worse — a NIMBY? In the coming months the word nimby is probably going to get thrown about often. I hope kindness, understanding, and collaboration prevail.


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