Palm Desert Sued for Allegedly Disregarding Property Owners’ Rights

Vacation Rental Owners and Neighbors of Palm Desert (VRON-PD), a California Non-Profit Organization dedicated to preserving Palm Deserts rich history of vacation rentals and home-sharing through responsible rental ownership and management have filed a 190-page lawsuit against the City of Palm Desert.

On December 10th, 2020 the Palm Desert City Council voted to pass Ordinance 1360, which would ban Short Term Rentals (STRs) in Planned Residential (PR) zoned neighbors not in an Home Owners Association (HOA) properties. The city is terminating the vested rights of STR homeowners without an HOA with a January 1, 2022 permit revocation date, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed March 10 in Riverside County Superior Court in Palm Springs.

The lawsuit alleges that despite the City’s stated success of the STR program, despite the fact that STRs bring in over a million dollars per year in Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) and despite the fact that the City made multiple statements affirming the City’s intent to continue and foster STRs issuing permits each year, the city adopted Ordinance 1360, which is contrary to the city’s General Plan, City policy, and the city goals of promoting tourism and accommodations.

The city assigned a “subcommittee” to examine the issues. Through Public Records Act requests, VRON-PD learned that the “subcommittee” met twice via zoom, kept no notes, followed no agenda, kept no video recordings, the lawsuit alleges. In other words, no documentation and invitations to STR owners to be engaged in the dialogue and yet they voted on such a drastic ordinance without any clear evidence or documentation that lead to the creation and “adoption” of Ordinance 1360.

The lawsuit alleges that during the council’s discussion they openly admitted the city was illegally rezoning homeowners, but this blatant disregard for the law was only the tip of the iceberg.

On March 10th, 2021 Vacation Rental Owners and Neighbors of Palm Desert felt compelled to stand up against illegal behavior by filing a lawsuit against The City of Palm Desert (VRON PD vs. The City of Palm Desert). You may read the lawsuit here.

The city staff, the city attorney, and some members of the city council have failed in their duties by acting illegally without regard for the laws, policies, and procedures that are mean to protect American citizens, the lawsuit alleges.

VRON PD believes property owners have rights that have been run over by the actions of the Palm Desert City Council.

Image Sources

  • Lawsuit: Shutterstock