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Roger Butow, Laguna Beach
Individually, cities now fending off short-term rentals are unique, however the dreaded dynamics, the negative impacts and effects upon neighborhoods within them are quite predictable. And, no exaggeration, horror shows aplenty that turn private citizens into a branch of enforcement.
This gives us no choice but to be watchdogs in formerly quiet, tranquil places.
Many neighborhoods are actually mini-communities, like mine here in South Laguna: Lower Victoria Beach (just north of the Montage Resort).
A lot of Dana Point, like Laguna, is compressed because cities, in their greed for a bigger bite of taxes and patronage for local commerce, have allowed developers and spec builders to construct monolithic dwellings with very little space between them.
Privacy is already limited, why the rush to make it worse by cramming in yet more abusive transient people who have no core value connection to the community? We’re simply abstract vacation destinations to them, to be visited, used and then abandoned.
Here in Laguna, Long Term Renters make up 43 percent of our residents, most have absentee landlords.
Also, both long-term rentals and owners living onsite learn to get along, accountability comes from personal acquaintanceship, exchanging of cell phone numbers for emergencies prevails. Rarely are any neighbors forced to call the police to enforce parking violations and late night disturbances.
We just go over and knock when things get out of hand, or talk to them the next day: Lesson learned, guilt trip successful, dispute settled without police intervention.
My neighbors and I have unfortunately learned that even though we already have an ordinance limiting these commercial operations, the constant nightmare is not easily remedied.
Professionally, I am a land use and regulatory compliance advisor, and this entire situation is avoidable. Your alarmed anti-STR are really similar to ours: Allowing commercial enterprises in residential area zoning that should respect and protect LTR occupants is the heart of the matter.
Any municipality that allows STR is in effect granting rights within these mini-residential communities without stakeholder’s say-so. At minimum all residents should have a direct vote in the matter.
No rights are being taken by limiting or forbidding STR. In reality, rights not allowed for obvious reasons, unacceptable infringements that drive down property values of existing owners, are being taken away via city hall fiat.
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