Coachella Valley residents from La Quinta to Rancho Mirage support Measure B in Cathedral City

Some Coachella Valley residents are stepping forward to support the Cathedral City City Council in its effort pass Measure B, the Cathedral City Short-Term Vacation Rental Regulation Measure, which will appear on a March 2, 2021 Special Election ballot.

If approved by Cathedral City voters, Measure B would uphold the city’s adopted Short-Term Vacation Rental regulations and restrictions, which were developed after a year of community engagement and feedback to address identified resident priorities including: Improving neighborhood safety, reducing criminal activity associated with short-term vacation rentals, reducing noise impacts of short-term vacation rentals, and preserving neighborhood character.

Coachella Valley residents have donated everything from time and money to signs and moral support to ensure Measure B passes.

They are keeping an ever-watchful eye on what happens in Cathedral City, believing what happens in the Valley’s second-largest city could have implications or their community next.

“I’m supporting them from afar,” Kay Wolff of La Quinta told Uken Report. “In the end, I hope La Quinta will be shamed into following the lead of other cities in the Valley in supporting residents over businesses in our residential zones.”

In August 2020 La Quinta imposed a moratorium on new short-term vacation rental permits. The moratorium has been extended several times and is currently extended through April 6.

Bruce Poynter, is a retired fire captain from Indio who now lives in Palm Desert. He has donated money and has written letters to support Measure B.

“Short-term vacation rentals (STVRs) are a problem Valleywide,” Poynter said. “Anything I can do to help them, I’ll do. The crime and safety aspect is a huge issue for me. With a continuous cycle of new and different people coming in and going out, there is no neighborhood watch. Residents simply want to live their lives.”

Every neighborhood mini motel displaces a real resident, Poynter said. California has a big housing shortage. For every short-term rental in a city, a family, a real resident is displaced. Many Coachella valley cities have lost hundreds or thousands of units.

“Most of these businesses are operated by out-of-town landlords with multiple units,” Poynter said. “Common addresses I’ve seen are San Diego, Orange County, San Francisco, Washington, Oregon and Canada. The only interest they have here is how much money they can extract off the residents’ back. They collect money while the neighbor, (de facto property manager) is up all night calling Code Enforcement, police, fire, medics on another party-house disaster.”

Michael D. Ziskind, chairman of Neighborhoods of Rancho Mirage, has donated money to the cause, called friends urging them to donate and has spoken to the City Council about STVRs. He used to live in Palm Springs in a neighborhood — Vista Las Palmas — that he says became overrun with STVRs.

STVRs are an unregulated industry, Ziskind told Uken Report. He said he has seen firsthand the negative impact that unregulated commercial businesses can have on both a neighborhood and a community.

“This is a rallying cry,” Ziskind said. “They are unsupervised motels next door. This isn’t just a Cathedral City problem. (Opponents) selected Cathedral City because they wanted it to be the Tar-Baby. After Cathedral City, they will go Valleywide.”

If you live next door to an STVR where occupants are playing loud music and partying until 3 a.m. and file a complaint, it’s already too late, Ziskind said.

“Your enjoyment has already been disrupted and you become the Gladys Kravitz of the neighborhood,” he said.

Many STVR owners don’t live here, Ziskind said. They’re not our neighbors. They can’t assist an elderly resident, hold a spare key or accept a package. They don’t volunteer at our library, schools or planetarium.

Doug Evans, a Cathedral City resident who is working on behalf of Measure B, said most people don’t like to call to complain.

“Some days I don’t even know which house to call on,” Evans said. “I can hear one, two, three, four, five vacation rentals from my back yard. We can’t go out in our pool. We’ve got music next door. We’ve got people screaming two houses down. It really has diminished the quality of our life. And it’s not what we expected when we signed on over 30 years ago to live in a quiet single-family neighborhood, with real neighbors that work for a living, that struggle at times. We help each other. I’ve had neighbors lose their jobs. We’ve helped. We encourage each other. We prop each other up.”



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