Desert Sun: Palm Springs voters will decide the fate of short-term vacation rentals in June

One way or another, the Palm Springs short-term vacation rental debate will be over in less than four months.

The City Council voted 4-0 on Wednesday to put the matter to the voters at during an already scheduled statewide election on June 5...The vote came after a lengthy discussion of an economic impact report, conducted by international tourism consulting company Tourism Economics, which painted a bleak picture of how the city would be impacted if the measure were adopted.


The greater Palm Springs area could lose $199 million annually–a number questioned by Council members and residents–tallying together direct and indirect revenue losses from fewer people flying through Palm Springs International Airport and filling up at local gas stations to decreased spending at local shops and restaurants, according to the 24-page report…

The issue drew commentary from people who support and oppose short-term rentals, but both sides seemed to support putting the matter to the voters in June, so the issue could finally be resolved.

Aftab Dada, president of the Palm Springs Hospitality Association, said he was worried about the economic implications of getting rid of a majority of the city’s short-term rentals.

“My question to the folks that are putting this on the ballot is how are we going to substitute or replace that kind of revenue?” he said.

Peter MacFarlane, who said he operates short-term rental properties, said he sometimes asks people staying at his properties if they would return to Palm Springs if they had to stay in a hotel, and they said no. He said banning rentals in residential neighborhoods would be akin to “starting a bakery and not carrying cakes and cupcakes.”
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