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Short term rentals in single family neighborhoods to be phased out in Palm Desert

Palm Desert debates short-term rental...

PALM DESERT, Calif. - The Palm Desert City Council has voted to phase out short term rentals in single family neighborhoods with R1 and R2 designations by Dec. 31, 2019.

The vote came after a marathon of public comment, council discussion and failed motions. This adoption will count as a first reading of the ordinance and will need final approval at the next city council meeting on Dec. 14.

The city council will have to revisit the issue within the next nine months to see how well the ordinance is working.

A sea of pink and blue packed into the Palm Desert city council chambers Thursday night.

Those in the blue wanting to do away with short term rentals in residential neighborhoods and those in pink aimed to save that industry in those neighborhoods and their investments. Public comment lasted four hours.

"I think most issues can be addressed and corrected by sensible enforcement, sensible regulations," said Lesley Miller a short-term rental owner. 

"I don’t want to live next to a house that has different people. I don’t even know who they are where they are coming from staying there week in and week out. I want to know my neighbors. I want to connect with my neighbors," said Van Tanner, who lives next to a short-term rental property.

Three weeks ago, council members voted to phase out short-term rentals on properties in the single family neighborhoods in R1 and R2 designations by 2019. Those caught operating without a permit could be hit with a $5,000 fine.

Both sides made arguments that home values in the city would drop if the opposition has regulations go their way.

"They cannot sell their home because a serious buyer will not buy a home if they know that a short-term rental is nearby," said Christel Prokay, founder of Protect Palm Desert Neighborhoods Group.

"The values will decline. I think that the short term rentals are essential to the concept of the city and the economic viability of the city," Miller said.

Robert Froese said he’s a short term renter from Canada who rents a single-family home. Froese said he feels like he’s caught in a crossfire of a heated debate in a town where he goes to escape from all that.

"I respect my neighbors and they totally reciprocate. It I have never had a neighborhood issue and I have never sensed a resentment from my neighbors," Froese said.


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