WHY HASN'T THE CITY COUNCIL ACTED TO RESTORE RESIDENTIAL ZONES AND QUALITY OF LIFE?

BACKGROUND – March 2nd Council meeting minutes the difficulty of finding solutions when there are equal numbers for and against (STVRs).

FACT - Neighbors for Neighborhoods (N4N) conducted a survey of 632 residents from 21 communities which included 945 comments with voluntary participation in order to portray an accurate picture of the impact STVRs are having on their neighbors and identify potential solutions.  The survey was developed and administered using the credibility standards of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR).

Despite the sample size and credibility exceeding any survey the city has ever conducted the survey has not been acknowledged by Council.    

The survey shows only 24% of residents who have had problems with STVRs in the past year have communicated with the Council.  If the N4N survey sample size was this small it would not have reached the credibility criteria established by the AAPOR.  So, council meetings are necessary but are limited in their ability to get a reliable, accurate, total picture of the impact STVRs are having on our communities and residents’ lives.

Results of recent votes on STVRs in Cathedral City and PGA West show a 2 to 1 majority in favor of either banning or having a minimum rental period of 28 days.  The survey had 35% in favor of banning STVRs (the majority) and 31% supported a 28-day minimum rental period with an additional 10% a ten-day minimum.

Taking the resident participation level at the two STVR special council meetings (January 27 and February 25) with no resident emailing or speaking more than once it would take more than 5 meetings to equal the survey participation level and more than 12 meeting to equal the PGA West vote total.

To believe there is equal support and opposition to STVRs is to ignore the survey and the recent election data.  The fact is opposition to STVRs is running ahead with at least a 2 to 1 margin. 

Desert Sun March 7, 2021; A rough count indicates that recently published opinion submissions expressing opposition to or concern about STVRs outnumbered those supporting them by about a 2-to-1 margin.

Any misunderstanding the Council had about the overwhelming opposition to the STVR program should have been clarified by;

  • N4N Survey

  • Election vote totals at PGA West and Cathedral City

  • Hundreds of emails, phone calls, and oral testimony

  • Desert Sun editorial

N4N on January 5th submitted a Vision for La Quinta to the Council for consideration during their deliberations on changes to the STVR program.  It recommended not to ban STVRs in La Quinta but to restore quality of life by permitting “seasonal” rentals in residential zones and permit STVRs in the nine Tourist Commercial zones.

SO WHY HAS COUNCIL NOT RESPONDED TO PUBLIC OPINION?

  • Mayor Evans “I do not support banning STVRs in La Quinta.  Our city needs the $3.5M revenue…………………. “(Desert Sun Sept 24, 2020)

  • February 25th Special Council Meeting

    1. Mayor Evans expressed concern over the City’s financial health if a permanent moratorium on non-hosted STVRs is enacted.  She is concerned the number of tourist commercial properties don’t increase to compensate.  She stated the current number of non-hosted STVRs is acceptable.

    2. Pena agreed with Mayor Evans and explained his concern that there will be unknown demands on City revenues in the future.

    3. Mayor Evans prefers not to use the term “indefinite” moratorium because it may not give the city flexibility should it have future need for STVR revenue.

  • March 2nd Council Meeting

    1. Although not a primary factor, the Council’s responsibility to safeguard the City’s long-term financial health (Council Meeting Minutes March 2, 2021 page 9 of 14)

    2. The goal is consensus among stakeholders so it is prudent to take it slow and address issues bit by bit (March 2nd)

 

LESSON LEARNED

  • Council does not want to lose STVR TOT revenue.

  • Despite COVID stay at home and shuttering La Quinta Resort for 6 months city budget remained healthy to the point Council launch a Small Business Loan Program and marketed with radio advertising.

  • Residents’ quality of life and the impact of losing 1000 families from our communities has been dropped from the conversation.