By Lillian Boyd for Dana Point Times 

This article has been edited for clarity regarding Scott Schoeffel’s stance on short-term rentals. 

Short-term rentals drew the most contrasting opinions during Friday morning’s Dana Point City Council candidate forum.

In accordance with a longstanding tradition of hosting political panels, the Dana Point Civic Association welcomed voters to hear out the candidates’ responses to questions submitted by the community ahead of November’s election.  Several dozen residents filled the audience outside Coffee Importers at the Harbor, where they could enjoy free coffee during the event.

“The association wanted to give constituents the chance to meet their candidates on a personal basis in an intimate setting,” said Terry Walsh, a member of the Civic Association. “This gave people an opportunity to know who could be representing them.”

This will be the first election in Dana Point that incorporates districting for a seat on City Council. Vying to represent District 1 is incumbent Mayor Pro-Tem Joe Muller, former Financial Review Committee member Joseph Jaeger as well as Amy Foell. Constituents in District 2 will choose between incumbent Mayor Richard Viczorek, former council member Scott Schoeffel and Mark McGinn. Charles Payne and Jamey Federico, both political newcomers, are vying for the District 3 seat.

Moderator and former Dana Point Times editor Andrea Swayne asked the eight candidates questions regarding city spending, homelessness, substance-abuse rehabilitation facilities, short-term rentals, and developing the city’s Town Center. Dana Point Times assisted in forming questions gathered from readers’ submissions throughout the past month.

When asked which actions should be taken to address homelessness in the city, Jaeger, Federico, Viczorek and Schoeffel commended the Homeless Task Force for its efforts in reducing displacement. The city recently took action to increase outreach through Mercy House to six days per week and has initiated a program to support similar nonprofit organizations to combat homelessness.

The eight candidates differentiated on their positions regarding short-term rentals and their effect on local economy and way of life. “I did not buy my property to live next to a business. I don’t want to live next to a frat house,” Jaeger said.

McGinn agreed, adding that short-term rentals, such as AirBnB, “torpedo” the source of revenue that local hotels bring to the city. Viczorek, Muller and Foell asserted their favor for short-term rentals but applauded keeping hosts accountable for trash or noise. Schoeffel’s platform calls for residents and neighborhood associations to have the power to regulate short-term rentals within their own designated area.

“This is a great example of how we can come to a compromise, maybe put a maximum amount of nights a residence can be rented out throughout the year. If we’re worried about frat houses and parties, we can come together to make a plan and balance our rights,” Federico said.

All eight candidates agreed that the Town Center was a prudent investment for the future, although Muller proposed a referendum that would reexamine the restrictive nearby parking brought on by Measure H.

If you missed Friday morning’s event, the Dana Point Civic Association organizes a monthly Coffee Chat, with October’s guest speaker to be announced. Voters will select the next three City Council members on Nov. 6. Visit www.danapointtimes.com for updates on election information and future events.

About The Author Dana Point Times

comments (3)

  • Your article makes it appear as if Scott Schoeffel opposes short term rentals. He does not. As Councilmember in 2016 he promoted and voted to finalize the City’s short term rental ordinance. As a condition for obtaining Coastal Commission approval of that ordinance, the CCC required the City to agree to rezoning which prevented the City from limiting, modifying or prohibiting STS without the prior approval of the Coastal Commission. This would have given away the City’s right to govern itself on this issue, and frozen the City’s ordinance permitting STRs, since the CCC is known to favor STRS. At the time Schoeffel stated that “this was the best deal the City could get.” The problem is the City did not need to make such a deal. The ordinance was so outrageous that even staunch STS supporters such as Joe Muller and Rick Viczorek voted against it. Of course, in three weeks over 4,000 Dana Point residents signed a petition in support of a referendum to nullify this ridiculous ordinance.

    Schoeffel did not then oppose STRs. If he has changed his mind he needs to explain his 2016 vote and his current position clearly.

  • Reading your article, one can mistakenly draw a conclusion that Mr. Schoeffel is against short term rentals. He is not against short term rentals. He is against living next to a frat house. Please make a change so your original article cannot be construed as Mr. Schoeffel being against short term rentals.

  • Scott Schoeffel is not only in favor of short term rentals, but was the prime mover in favor of the 2016 ordinance which would have locked in the city’s short term rental ordinance and given control of the issue to the Coastal Commission. His reason? He said this was the best deal the City could get. But the City didn’t need to make a deal at all! It was so outrageous that even short term rental supporters Viczorek and Muller voted against it at the City Council. It passed with the support of Tomlinson and Olvera.

    It took a referendum signed by over 4000 Dana Point residents to avoid this catastrophic result. His support for, and promotion of giving away the city’s sovereignty to the Coastal Commission demonstrates Schoeffel does not have the judgment necessary to sit on the City Council.

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