Palm Springs Voters Reject Measure Cracking Down on Vacation Rentals

PALM SPRINGS (CNS) - Palm Springs voters solidly defeated a measure that would have banned a majority of the city's short-term rental properties offered through sites such as Airbnb.

Measure C on Tuesday's ballot called for the prohibition of vacation rentals in single-family residential or ``R1'' zones effective 2020. The measure would have continued the ongoing prohibition of using apartments for short-term rentals but would have continued allowing rentals at condominiums with homeowner's association approval.

In March of 2017, the city council pushed through an ordinance limiting property owners to renting out their homes 32 times a year, reducing the issuance of new vacation rental permits to one per owner, and requiring guests to meet with owners for a thorough run-thru of the city's rental regulations.

The measure's passage was the culmination of numerous attempts by the Palm Springs City Council to craft a vacation rental ordinance intended to please interests on both sides of the issue. However, the city ended up receiving challenges from both vacation rental proponents and opponents.

Measure C went before voters due to the efforts of Palm Springs Neighbors for Neighborhoods, a group that challenged portions of the city's rental ordinance they found too lenient toward rental owners, while also claiming the restrictions primarily benefit rental owners living outside of Palm Springs.

Vacation rental opponents also continue to decry an overflow of tourists utilizing the properties, which they say leads to a host of issues, including excessive traffic and noise complaints.

``According to the city, 467,000 tourists stayed in STRs (short-term rentals) last year, in neighborhoods built to house about 28,000 residents. This alarming number affects all of us and it's on the rise,'' Measure C proponents wrote in campaign materials.

After the city's ordinance went into effect April of last year, Palm Springs Neighbors for Neighborhoods circulated a petition, which obtained enough signatures to put Measure C on the ballot.

City officials, who opposed Measure C, stated that in addition to eliminating 82 percent of the city's rentals from eligibility, the measure's passage would have resulted in a loss of millions in tax revenue and the elimination of Palm Springs' vacation rental compliance department due to a lack of funding.

``This poorly drafted and confusing ballot measure, brought by a special interest group, will result in the loss of millions of dollars in taxes paid by tourists, necessitating substantial cuts to vital city services and programs,'' according to a ballot statement penned by members of the council.

Photo: Getty Images

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