PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Palm Springs voters will decide the fate of short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods. City Council members unanimously voted on a measure that puts the item on the June 5th primary ballot.
The Palm Springs City Council chambers were once again jampacked with people on both sides of the short-term vacation rental issue.
This meeting was different, however, as both sides of the issue wanted the same thing. Allow the voters of Palm Springs to decide if short-term vacation rental properties should be allowed here in the city.
Members of the group "Neighbors for Neighborhoods" collected thousands of signatures to give voters the chance to make this decision for Palm Springs.
"Our sole purpose is to empower the people of Palm Springs to be able to vote and have their voices be heard," Steve Rose of Neighbors for Neighborhoods.
"The people who have worked to get it on the ballot and the people who have signed the petition represent a grassroots effort to address an important issue," said Joan Martin, a Palm Springs resident.
People who own short-term rental properties or work in that industry also said during public comment they want the issue on the ballot too.
"Let's put this on the June 5th ballot and settle this once and for all and the uncertainty in Palm Springs is gone forever," said Jim Franklin, a representative for the Palm Springs Regional Association of Realtors.
A recent financial impact report found that the city could lose millions of tourist dollars is vacation rentals are in single-family neighborhoods are gone.
"$8.54 close to $200 million of money coming into palm springs, as a result of vacation rentals, that would go away. That’s money lost to restaurants, and stores, and retail and entertainment," said Palm Springs City Councilmember Geoff Kors.
"Vacation rentals has to do with single family homes. That is what people want that’s where people are staying and a late amount of the TOT and economic impact are coming from single-family homes," said Kelly McLean, owner of McLean Company Rentals, a company that represents hundreds of Palm Springs vacation rental homes.
Neighborhood groups maintain vacation renter impact their quality of life and vacation rental properties eat up housing stock that would otherwise go to low and middle-income families.
"Nowhere in your report does it take into account that most residents of a neighborhood do not like to file a report against someone for some they are afraid of repercussions by the renter to rental management companies," said Hugh Vance of Neighbors for Neighborhoods.
Palm Springs Mayor Robert Moon read a statement from the Aqua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians who are strongly against a ban on short-term rentals.
While the city council vote was unanimous, council member Christy Holstege recusing herself from the vote due to a financial conflict.