From the Desk of Palm Springs City Councilmember Lisa Middleton
The issue before us with Measure C is truly a simple choice — are you a believer in regulation or prohibition?
If you believe that Palm Springs can and should regulate vacation rentals; if you expect the City Council to enact strict laws that govern who can own a vacation rental, how often it can be rented and should enforce tough laws on noise levels then I hope you will join me in voting — No on Measure C.
Measure C is not reformation of our laws, but a complete ban of vacation rentals in all single-family zones across the city. The City Council will no longer be able to make changes as needed and when needed. All future changes to the vacation rental ordinances will have to go to the voters.
Measure C simply goes too far. I have spoken with many people who are initially supportive of Measure C as they want to see our rules tightened; but as they learn more about Measure C they shake their heads and say — I can’t vote for that.
Make no mistake. If Measure C passes, thousands of people who currently vacation in our city will go somewhere else. Our hotels already operate at near capacity for most of the season. Whatever the intention of those promoting Measure C, the national story will be — Palm Springs Restricts Tourism. Our most influential tourism and hotel leaders oppose Measure C.
In 2017, the City Council did act. We tightened the rules, we added enforcement staff and we made the penalties matter. The new law is working. The bad acts are being eliminated, calls to the Hotline are down because vacation rental homeowners are fully vetting who they are renting to. The number of vacation rentals homes has gone from 2135 to 1990 in less than a year. We are not finished making this law work. But we throw all of that work out the window if Measure C is passed. All of the enforcement of our current ordinance, the nine people who staff our Vacation Rental Enforcement Department — all of their costs are paid for by fees paid by vacation rental homeowners.
If Measure C passes, the cost of vacation rental enforcement will shift from fees paid vacation rental homeowners to taxpayers and the general fund. Further, if Measure C passes, general fund revenue will be reduced by approximately $10 million. Since the enactment of our 2017 ordinance, police involvement in vacation rental enforcement is down by 90%. If Measure C passes our police will spend more policing vacation rentals and that leaves less time for their real job.
Lastly, Measure C places our property values at risk. There over 1400 homes that in two years would lose their vacation rental permit. How many of those homes will be put up for sale? The current inventory of R-1 homes for sale is less than 500. We are the only city in the Coachella Valley where median prices have returned to pre-recession values.
If you want to learn more or if you want to help the No on C campaign — please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Palm Springs Council Member