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Roger E. Bütow, Laguna Beach

Just filed in Orange County Superior Court is a lawsuit that’s being stealthily pushed by our taxpayer’s association: Forget about the fact that this is actually a diminishment from 95 percent of your total population’s quality of life. That includes long-term renters and homeowners.

For your information, here in Laguna, 43 percent of our residents are in fact renters.

Proponents invoking CEQA or Coastal Act use an Alice-In-Wonderland, pretzel logic: More of these short-term rentals (STRs) would negatively impact residential neighborhoods, and CEQA requires mitigation that I guess many think 30 pieces of silver from taxation coffers adequately compensates.

1. People bought their places without the commercial entitlement, without the mandated Conditional Use Permits required for businesses.

2. These same people now want to acquire such concessions/exactions but without due process, circumventing local land use ordinances—in essence re-zoned mixed use.

3. Just because they’ve been getting away with it for years doesn’t allow them to allege non-permitted activities are retroactively (grandfathered) legal. Typifying it as prohibition is disingenuous. It’s a taking.

4. Charging $400 per night might be slightly cheaper than our other motels/hotels but is still beyond low income budgets. Now add how much more local amenities/entertainment, groceries and/or restaurants cost; think we’re still talking affordable?

STRs are a slippery slope, a commercial Trojan horse.

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