Petitioners ‘confident’ they have signatures to put STVR on the ballot

CATHEDRAL CITY — Karyn McQueen, a resident of Mountain Horse who owns one short-term vacation rental in this community, is one of the people behind the effort to put to a vote of the people the City Council’s decision to phase out STVR.

The City Council this month voted unanimously on an ordinance to phase out short-term vacation rentals (STVR) in residential neighborhoods by the end of 2022 with two main exceptions:

  • Homes located in neighborhoods governed by Homeowners Associations (HOAs a.k.a. Common Interest Developments) that permit such use and;
  • Home-sharing vacation rentals.  Home sharing means that the home is the owner’s primary or principal residence and rents out a portion of the property.  Rules include that the owner may only have one primary or principal residence and the owner of the home is onsite during the rental period.  Typically, home sharing is where the owner rents out a room or casita on their property.

This decision came after more than a year of public input, the creation of a short-term vacation rental task force, and much deliberation. The newly adopted ordinance is scheduled to go into effect on Oct. 9, 2020.

The council believed the STVR phase out was needed to restore the quality of life to residential neighborhoods and that no amount of enforcement can properly address the complaints by adjacent neighbors who are faced with unruly STVR renters, according to Chris Parman, communications manager.

McQueen is a former member of the task force. She, along with Boris Stark, created a website.

Petitions Circulate on Short-term Vacation Rentals

Karyn McQueen

“We started ILCC because our voices were not being heard by the City Council.,” McQueen told Uken Report. “The City Council ignored the task force’s recommendations. The task force voted 6-5 to not ban STVRs as well as many other issues related to STVRs that the City Council completely disregarded. We felt that we needed to join forces with other STVR homeowners and property managers to have a united voice to fight for our homeowner property rights.”

McQueen said her team has received a “very positive response” from the voters they have spoken with so far. She declined to say how many signatures they have collected to date.

“We’re expecting to deliver our signatures to the city clerk well before the deadline,” McQueen said. “We are utilizing a mix of volunteers and paid, professional signature gatherers, which is standard practice for a referendum.”

The group had originally started a petition drive on gathering signatures from around the world. However, all signatures on the referendum petition must come from registered Cathedral City voters, City Clerk Tracey Martinez told Uken Report.

Petitioners will need to collect 10% of the number of voters last reported by the Secretary of State, Martinez said. She estimates that to be about 2,300. Exact figures were not immediately available.

Petitioners have 30 days from the date the City Clerk attested the ordinance, which was Sept, 14, to deliver the petitions for verification.

“We believe the City Council made a mistake and went too far in deciding to ban short-term vacation rentals,” McQueen said. “Their decision will have a significant negative impact on all Cathedral City residents, not just vacation rental owners. This new law will drive tourists away from Cathedral City, reduce our property values, put people out of work, and worse, eliminate funding for police, firefighters, parks, street repairs and other public services. We are asking the City Council to reconsider their decision, or place it on the ballot so all voters have a chance to weigh in.”

The Share Cathedral City campaign is supported by donations from dozens of Cathedral City homeowners, residents and vacation rental managers, McQueen said.

“We are locals who care about the future of our community,” McQueen said. “Short-Term Vacation rentals are an important component of the tourism engine that drives our Coachella Valley economy. We do not have enough hotel rooms to accommodate the number of visitors who want to spend time in Cathedral City, and many visitors prefer to stay in a home rather than a hotel setting. The city collected just around half a million in tourist taxes from vacation rentals last year, but properly permitted and regulated vacation rentals in Cathedral City could easily generate more than $2 million a year in tourist taxes, not to mention the sales tax paid by tourists. Overall, this ban could cost the city millions of dollars a year in tax revenue. That money pays for our police, firefighters, parks, street repairs and other public services.”



Image Sources

  • Karyn McQueen: Karyn McQueen
  • Short-term Vacation Rental: NBC San Diego