Campaign launches to fight ban on Palm Springs vacation rentals
PALM SPRINGS (March 6, 2018) — Now that the Palm Springs City Council has placed a vacation rental ban on the June 5 ballot, a group of Palm Springs leaders has launched a campaign to reject the ban and save Palm Springs tourism.
The We Love Palm Springs coalition is urging voters to vote “no” on Measure C, the June 5 ballot initiative measure that would ban vacation rentals in single-family homes across the city.
“Measure C is a ban that will cut hundreds of thousands of tourists and hundreds of millions of dollars from our local tourism economy,” said Bruce Hoban, a co-founder of the Vacation Rental Owners and Neighbors of Palm Springs, which represents nearly 400 homeowners in Palm Springs. “We already have perhaps the strictest set of vacation rental regulations in the country. We don’t need a ban.”
The We Love Palm Springs coalition has broad support from the hospitality industry in Palm Springs, including hoteliers such as Aftab Dada, President of the Palm Springs Hospitality Association, which represents almost 200 hotels, restaurants and attractions of all sizes in the city.
“My colleagues and I feel very strongly that vacation rentals are complementary to the hotel industry,” Dada said. “Some people feel that if we ban vacation rentals, the hotels will absorb that business. I 100 percent disagree with that. The majority of our hotels already run close to 100 percent capacity on the weekends.”
Retail business owners have also joined the coalition to defeat Measure C because it would cut the amount of spending by tourists in local businesses, leading to job losses and business failures.
“We oppose Measure C because of the devastating impact it would have on the Palm Springs economy,” said Nona Watson, CEO of the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce, which represents over 1,000 local businesses.
One of those member businesses is the Ice Cream and Shop(pe), owned by Athalie LaPamuk, who is also an investor in the Arrive Hotel and owns and manages two vacation rentals in town.
“I often meet visitors at my vacation rental who are excited to plan a return trip to stay at the hotel, or guests at the hotel who want to come back and stay in a vacation rental,” LaPamuk said. “Those are some of the same people who end up moving here and starting businesses here. The point is that our city benefits from all this tourism activity.”
Concern about the impact of a ban on home values has led the Palm Springs Regional Association of Realtors to join the We Love Palm Springs coalition, according to government affairs director Jim Franklin. Of the nine cities in the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs is the only city whose median single-family home value has returned to its 2006 peak. Other local cities have only recovered 70 to 80 percent of their peak median value for single-family homes.
“We would expect an additional 400 houses to be put on the market in the first six months if this ban passes,” Franklin said. “We estimate that would lead to a 10 to 15 percent drop in the median home value. That could trigger a race to the bottom that could drive the median down even further, to 25 percent below where it is today.”
For more information, visit www.WeLovePalmSprings.org.
“We Love Palm Springs - No on Measure C” is a coalition of pro-tourism individuals and organizations in Palm Springs, with support from the Vacation Rental Owners and Neighbors of Palm Springs (VRON-PS), Vacation Rental Tourism Association, Palm Springs Hospitality Association, Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce, Palm Springs Regional Association of Realtors, Desert Valleys Builders Association, Main Street Palm Springs, and over 250 individual residents and homeowners.