As Election Day Nears, STVR Complaints are Mounting
CATHEDRAL CITY — Less than two months before voters in this community head to the polls to vote on the “Cathedral City Short-Term Vacation Rental (STVR( Regulation Measure,” STVR complaints are mounting, according to a report from City Manager Charles McClendon.
The city has received thousands of complaints and calls for service in just this past year regarding the safety and noise impacts of short-term vacation rentals in city neighborhoods and residents have requested that the City better address local public safety concerns, according to McClendon’s staff report.
Over the course of an approximately 14-month period the city received more than 1800 complaints and calls for service related to STVRs, according to McClendon. Between Oct. 1, 2019 and Nov. 30, 2020, the police department communications center received 809 calls for service regarding short-term vacation
rentals including complaints about disruptive, and in some cases, illegal behavior by STVR guests including loud, late night parties, crowds coming in and out of residential neighborhoods and increased criminal activity, according to the report.
Fifteen of these calls resulted in crimes occurring in which (9) arrests were made and 52 citations issued. The 15 crimes reported were (1) Attempted Murder, (1) Sexual Assault, (5) Domestic Violence Assaults, (5) Residential Burglaries, (1) Commercial Burglary and (2) Stolen Vehicles.
McClendon’s report on how STVR Complaints are Mounting will be before the City Council during its study session at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 13. The report will be presented for information, discussion and direction only.
According to the report, the recently approved STVR Compliance Team began their duties on Nov. 13,
2020. This team of four field officers responded to a total of 517 calls for service between Nov.13 and Nov. 30. Some 110 of these calls for service were STVR related and 12 citations were issued in this time span. The average time a police officer or a newly appointed compliance officer
spent on an STVR related call was 21 minutes and 46 seconds.
As further evidence STVR complaints are mounting, the report states that the fire department responded to 241 STVR related calls between Oct. 1, 2019 and Nov.20, 2020 and spent an average of 37 minutes and 46 seconds on each call.
The majority of complaints were regarding noise, music or both noise and music.
The ‘Cathedral City Short Term Vacation Rental Regulation Measure’ is on the March 2, 2021 Special Election ballot. If approved by voters, the measure would uphold Municipal Ordinance No. 842, which established additional regulations on Short-term Vacation Rentals (STVR) citywide to address concerns raised by local residents about criminal activity, noise, and other impacts.
Cathedral City’s current regulations were unanimously enacted after hearing hundreds of complaints from local residents and months of engagement with the community. The city concluded that additional regulation was necessary to preserve the character of Cathedral City’s residential neighborhoods, improve neighborhood safety, and reduce criminal activity, noise, and other impacts of STVRs.
These regulations must now be approved by voters as a referendum petition sponsored by the real estate industry collected the required number of signatures to repeal two sections of Ordinance No. 842.
If the Cathedral City Short Term Vacation Rental Regulation Measure is approved by voters, the City’s proposed regulations will be upheld, including safety provisions such as:
- Requiring all STVRs to maintain adequate property insurance.
- Repeat safety violations at the same STVR property within a 12-month period will result in suspension of the STVR permit.
- Neighboring properties within 300 feet of an STVR shall be notified of any suspension or public hearing, to provide opportunities for neighbors to comment about the property in question.
- Outdoor amenities such as pools and spas must be closed between the hours of 10 pm and 8:00 am as a safety measure.
- All rental agreements must be filed with the City prior to occupancy or within 24 hours of execution of the contract by the STVR occupants; and are public information.
- Current STVRs located outside of Common Interest Developments that permit STVRS and not part of home sharing will have a base year to operate. Following the base year, current STVRs will have a year to operate under a hardship provision along with a three-month grace period. Current STVRs with those exceptions will cease operations on December 31, 2022.
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