Cathedral City citizens submit more than 4,300 signatures in referendum petition

CATHEDRAL CITY – Share Cathedral City, which was assisted by I Love Cathedral City, has submitted the signatures of 4,339 registered voters in a referendum petition demanding the City Council either repeal the new short-term vacation rental (STVR) ordinance or submit it to the voters.

“This overwhelming response from Cathedral City voters demonstrates that the City Council did not
have the support of residents when they passed their ban on nearly all short-term vacation rentals last
month,” said Karyn McQueen, spokesperson for the Share Cathedral City campaign. “Driving tourists
away from Cathedral City reduces our property values, puts people out of work, and eliminates critical
funding for police, firefighters, parks, street repairs, and other public services.”

Referendum Petitions Delivered to City Hall

Secretary, Kevin Ogilvie turning the referendum petitions in to the city.

The City Clerk has 30 working days to count and verify the signatures. If the Clerk determines that the petition contains at least 2,401 valid signatures – 10 percent of Cathedral City’s registered voters – the
petition will be presented to City Council, likely in early December.

The City Council will have two options: rescind the ordinance, or place it on the ballot at the next election to allow voters to decide whether the ordinance should be approved, according to McQueen. If the Council decides to rescind the ordinance, they can adopt an alternative ordinance with a different approach to regulating rentals.

In September, the City Council voted unanimously on an ordinance to phase out short-term vacation rentals (STVR) in residential neighborhoods by the end of 2022.

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 ordinance calls for a phase out of 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.
Referendum Petitions Delivered to City Hall

Mayor John Aguilar

Anticipating the referendum effort, Mayor John Aguilar told Uken Report, “I would always support a group’s or individual’s right to disagree with any action by the Council and to take whatever steps they feel necessary to fight for their cause,” Aguilar said. “The City Council, task force, and community labored on this issue for over a year and in the end made the decision they felt was in the best interest of our neighborhoods.  I only hope that everyone on both sides of this argument remain civil in their efforts to support or oppose the vote.”

Share Cathedral City supports stronger regulations and increased enforcement, including most of the new elements of the ordinance passed last month, according to McQueen. The group is strongly opposed, however, to what she calls a “ban” on non-hosted rentals in most neighborhoods. The group is urging the City Council to rescind the ordinance and replace it with something that does not include a ban.

“Everyone recognizes that resident frustration is driven by a lack of enforcement from the City,”
McQueen said in a prepared statement. “We are hopeful that the Council will rescind their ordinance and work with the community to come up with a better alternative that addresses community concerns while allowing vacation rentals to continue welcoming visitors to Cathedral City.”

For more information on the referendum effort, click here.

Image Sources

  • Petitions: I Love Cathedral City
  • John Aguilar: Cathedral City
  • Referendum: Shutterstock