A YES vote on Measure B will uphold the regulations the City Council approved in Ordinance 842 [Opinion]

CATHEDRAL CITY — On March 2nd, Cathedral City voters will have the opportunity, through Measure B, to make clear what is important to them when it comes to residential neighborhoods in our city. They will decide if it is more important to have reduced crime and traffic in our residential neighborhoods, or more important for property owners to be able to make a profit.

They will tell us if they are willing to give up our sense of community and our reputation as a safe, relatively-affordable, family-oriented city to mostly out-of-town investors so those investors can take advantage of our Palm Springs-adjacent location, amenities, and loose regulations to operate what too often become settings for late, loud, alcohol-fueled parties. They will decide if they believe our city should be able to regulate for-profit businesses that want to operate in family neighborhoods or be forced to keep in place weak rules that obviously have not been nearly tough enough to address the issues of noise, trash, parking, and crime that have arisen from the explosion of vacation rentals in our city.

After more than a year of studying the issues, receiving information from all sides, polling, trying interim measures, and reviewing complaint and crime data, the city council unanimously approved Ordinance 842; a slate of new, strict regulations to allow vacation rentals to function in a more sensible way and to protect our neighborhoods. These regulations placed limits on how vacation rentals operate, including restrictions on noise, occupancy, and parking. They also addressed the issue of where vacation rentals should operate, including a mandate that units in family residential neighborhoods be phased out over the next couple years so those homes could become available for long-term renters or owners who wanted to live in them, still permitting vacation rental licenses everywhere for those who wanted to share their home or casita, and allowing vacation rentals in all homes in resort residential locations where their community boards allow it.

The City Council also moved primary enforcement of regulations from the Code Enforcement Department to the Police Department and hired additional staff to handle the task. However, the vacation-rental industry did not agree to these stricter regulations and sponsored a referendum that has led to a halt of the new rules. Now the choice about whether the city will be able to put the new rules in place will be decided by the voters through their response to Measure B.

While the issues are complex, Measure B is straightforward; a YES vote on Measure B will uphold the regulations the City Council approved in Ordinance 842 and allow for stricter policing of vacation rentals in Cathedral City.  The City Council continues to express its support for these regulations, as have a large number of local residents, particularly those with direct experience dealing with vacation rentals in their own neighborhoods. The vacation-rental industry remains focused on its own financial interests and therefore have continued its campaign against these regulations.

Ultimately the voters in Cathedral City will get to decide what is more important, safe neighborhoods or profit. Please make sure your voice is heard and vote on March 2nd.

Image Sources

  • Vacation rentals: Shutterstock