Is Palm Springs on the Right Track?

palm_springs_03On December 10th the Desert Sun ran an editorial on vacation rentals in Palm Springs.  I am glad to see the media presenting a broader picture on the heated debate between vacation rental operators and local residents.  There are two definite sides to vacation rentals and I firmly believe that finding a middle ground will benefit everyone in the long run.  Palm Springs might be on to something here!  For quite some time I have been saying that some entity needs to step in and handle the complaints received by the police and compliance offices.  We need a neutral party to identify problem homes as well as nuisance residents. 
Bad owners and party houses are giving us a bad rap … or should I say rep.  Every party house reflects on the entire industry.  Every conscientious vacation rental owner and manager would like to see the bad players shut down.  These few bad apples are harming the entire industry.  I am hopeful that the Palm Springs pilot program will be successful.  By cracking down and enforcing the existing regulations, perhaps we can stop the increasingly strict city rules and regulations. 
Again and again I have been put in the very uncomfortable position of defending a Rancho Mirage regulation that I view unfair.  This past week, meeting and doing a property walk-through, I had to explain to a lovely sixty-something year old couple that they were not permitted to turn on the TV on the back patio … period.  The couple was disappointed that the city felt that they could be a possible nuisance if they took their coffee out to the private back yard and watched the morning news.   They mentioned that it was not a very welcoming feeling.  For the vacation rental owners and managers who strive to enforce good neighbor policies and follow all the rules, it is bitter to swallow the pill prescribed for the few problem properties. 
The boost that vacation rentals bring to the local economy and the city coffers, make it worth the effort to find a workable solution.  I also believe that there are some people who have gotten their backs up, and this is true on both sides of the issue.   This should also be looked at very carefully.  This is a good time for everyone to stand down, take a deep-breath and give the Palm Springs’ pilot program a chance to succeed. 
Following is the Desert Sun Editorial dated December 10, 2014 …

Our Voice: Palm Springs on top of vacation rentals

Vacation rental management agencies and homeowners in Palm Springs can expect a more vigorous response and follow-up to disturbance complaints.

The city will launch a three-month pilot program with Desert Security Services to quickly respond to disturbances received by the police department on weekends.

“The security officer or a code person will be dispatched immediately by police dispatch,” David Ready, Palm Springs city manager, told the Palm Springs City Council on Wednesday. The pilot program will cost $45,000 to $50,000.

“They will respond immediately to that home, and make an assessment of what’s occurring. If a citation needs to be issued, they will do it. And if nothing is occurring, they will record that as well,” Ready added.

The council was reviewing the modifications it made to the city’s vacation rental ordinance six months ago, in part, to see if the changes are working to reduce disturbances, and improve compliance with the ordinance.

Roughly 1,500 homes in Palm Springs are registered as vacation rentals, a 10.3 percent increase since February. Of those, 2 to 3 percent of the rentals have garnered complaints, according to city statistics taken in the last six months.

However, the issue remains a sensitive one — particularly for those residents who happen to live next door to “party houses.”

Tricia Porter said she has what seems to amount to a fraternity house behind her home.

“We can stand in the front of our house and hear them playing ping pong,” Porter told the council.   Read full article …..


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