WHY NOT WAIT UNTIL STRONGER REGULATIONS AND ENFORCEMENT HAVE HAD A CHANCE TO WORK?

  • Residents have been waiting 10 years for Council to correct the STVR policy mistake of allowing commercial nightly rentals into residentially zoned communities.

  • Residents are mad and frustrated with Council’s refusal to stop making STVRs their neighbors because the city wants to collect occupancy tax revenue.

  • Residents believed with creation of ad hoc committee in 2019 Council was finally ready to take action.

  • Despite hundreds of residents’ testimony, emails and phone calls to the Council and the N4N survey saying residents don’t want to live with commercial STVR businesses as their neighbors Council did not even discuss a plan to maintain STVR taxes while transitioning their permits to Tourist Commercial zones, whose purpose is to accommodate nightly rentals.

  • Instead, Council took action to make residential neighborhoods become a petri dish for regulations other cities tried and failed and “new” unqualified concepts; neither provides the timely relief residents are demanding and deserve after 10 years of having their quality of life impacted.

  • Council has demonstrated they will only make changes to the STVR program that continues the STVR tax revenue. 

  • Residents bought their homes expecting to live next to neighbors not a commercial STVR business which Council has forced on them for tax revenue.

  • Iris Smotrich Rancho Mirage Councilwoman “There are no guarantees and unfortunately there are always bad apples.  Full time residents spend money to create beautiful homes for themselves and they want the peace and quiet they deserve.  They deserve to have their neighborhood run like a residential neighborhood, not like a business neighborhood.” 

  • Rancho Mirage adopted STVR regulations similar to those being implemented by the La Quinta.

 

  • Even with additional enforcement officers these regulations proved to be ineffective, as a result on November 5th, 2020 the Rancho Mirage Council voted to phase out vacation rentals in non-HOAs.

  • Rancho Mirage Planning Commission is considering extending STVR ban to include HOA’s. 

  • Rancho Mirage is managing 121 properties over a 25 square mile area compared with La Quinta managing 1725 STVRs (permitted and unpermitted) over 36 square miles.

  • N4N survey identified 9 STVR created problems that impact neighbors’ quality of life, many cannot be addressed by regulations and enforcement; e.g., loss of sleep, trespassing, disrespectful, unleased pets, loss of neighbors and friends and safety.

  • Residents want neighborhoods with full-time neighbors.  STVR neighbors create only problems with no benefits.

  • City makes money, STVR owners make money, residents loss neighbors, quality of life and safety.

  • Residents want their peace, quiet and safety restored by permitting commercial STVRs in Tourist Commercial zones not residential zones.

  • La Quinta has 9 Tourist Commercial (TC) zones specifically designated for short term occupancy rentals.  STVR owners wanting to continue in the nightly commercial rental business can transfer their permit to a TC zone property.

  • Residents have lost patience and don’t want to live like this anymore.

  • Residents’ neighborhoods that should be protected by Council have been sold out to outside investors for a relatively small amount of tax revenue.  

  • The only option residents have left to protect their neighborhoods from being completely transformed into tourist commercial zones and restore their quality of life is a ballot initiative.

  • The Ballot initiative will permit STVRs in Tourist Commercial and Vacation Commercial zones and permit seasonal rentals (30-day minimum rental period) in Residential Zones.

  • The Ballot initiative will benefit all parties involved;

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  • Courts have established a benchmark STVRs should meet “not alter the character of the neighborhood.”

  • You should not be able to distinguish between a STVR and a full-time resident’s home.

  • Council STVR policy is based on;

    1. Protecting tax revenue generated by STVRs

    2. Making changes a little bit at a time

    3. Speculating stronger regulations and enforcement will work

La Quinta Council has had 10 years to correct the policy errors of the STVR program.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rancho Mirage wanted to keep STVRs, so the above regulations were introduced one or two at a time and officers added to enforce these regulations.   Even with the additional enforcement officers these regulations proved to be ineffective, as a result on November 5th, 2020 the Rancho Mirage Council voted to phase out vacation rentals in non-HOAs.

Residents know the benefits of having a full-time neighbor, what are the benefits of living next to a commercial STVR business?

 

The N4N survey results are compelling that resident’s quality of life and neighborhoods are being altered because of STVRs.  Now these residents lives and neighborhoods will become a petri dish while La Quinta Council experiments with a pilot noise device program and tries to make regulations similar to those adopted by Rancho Mirage work.  Evidence supports more initiatives and more enforcement won’t improve the problems associated with STVRs.  After 10 years of having commercial STVRs in residentially zoned neighborhoods, residents are mad and frustrated with Council’s refusal to stop making STVRs their neighbors because the City wants $3M in taxes.  La Quinta has 9 Tourist Commercial (TC) zones specifically designated for short term occupancy rentals.  Owners wanting to continue in the STVR commercial business could transfer their permit to a TC zone property.

 

What is really hard to understand is why the Council believes it is prudent to take it slow and address issues bit by bit (Council Meeting Minutes, March 2, 2021) which will only continue the impact STVRs are having on La Quinta’s residential zones.  Why does Council refuse to recognize the lessons learned from Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells, Palm Desert and Cathedral City?  when there are 9 Tourist Commercial zones that were designed for STVRs.

 

Councils objection is; they still don’t know the actual expenses to manage the STVR program.  Only recently (Council Meeting March 6, 2021) has the City even attempted to make an estimate of program expenses; 10.1 employees per year, with a total salary of $1.06M per year, or approximately $105K per employee.  Compare the annual city STVR program management expense to the median household income in La Quinta of $79K.  After 10 years the City still does not know how many STVRs are actually operating in La Quinta residential communities.  A recent “estimate” based on advertising is there are 204 in residential zones and 154 in Tourist and Commercial zones.  If they are unable to manage the permitting process how will they be able to enforce regulations.    

What will provide an immediate improvement in the character of La Quinta neighborhoods and the quality of their residents’ lives is to adopt a minimum stay requirement (VISION Recommendation #3).  Data presented in this report strongly supports a minimum stay requirement of 3-nights or longer.  

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