One week after a historic election in Palm Springs, residents are asking again to have a vote. This time it will be on short-term rentals.
On Wednesday morning, the local citizens’ group, Palm Springs Neighbors For Neighborhoods, delivered a petition to City Hall to limit short-term rentals (STRs) in residential neighborhoods. The group gathered more than 5,600 signatures, almost double the quantity required to qualify it for an upcoming election. The petition now goes to Riverside County for signature verification.
The group believes the city has failed residents in its primary role: to protect the safety and quality of life of its residents and maintain the integrity of its residential neighborhoods, according to a news release. It has done so by allowing the commercialization of its single-family neighborhoods.
A “yes” vote on this ballot measure will limit absentee-owner rentals to a minimum of 28 days or more per stay in residential R1-zoned single-family neighborhoods. Short-term rental owners will have two years to adjust their business model or relocate their vacation rental business to an area of the city zoned for mixed-use or commercial business.
Late last year, immediately after passage of a new vacation rental ordinance, a group of out-of-town business interests paid for a referendum in order to kill the ordinance. In response, the city made concessions to accommodate their demands, according to the release. Residents with opposing views were left out of those negotiations.
The result was a re-crafted ordinance.
“The proliferation of these de-facto motels is destroying our neighborhoods, block by block,” Stephen Rose, the group’s spokesperson, said in a prepared statement. “This initiative will give residents a voice in the future of their neighborhoods. We are all just one ‘FOR SALE’ sign away from having a full-time hotel next door to us.”
It is not the responsibility of neighborhoods to generate business tax revenue, Rose said. “Money isn’t everything. We all need somewhere safe and secure to call our home; that is what living in a neighborhood, with real neighbors, is all about.”