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I read with interest local realtor Shevy Akason’s letter in the Jan. 10 issue entitled “Small Group of Newer Residents Trying to Change Dana Point.” What a misleading title! Was he not aware that over 4,000 residents signed a referendum in 2016 to overturn a liberal short-term rental ordinance? Rather than “changing” Dana Point, they fought to retain their neighborhoods as homes for owners and renters who have invested in our city—people who vote, shop and live here, send their kids to local schools and care about their neighbors.

And what does he mean by “newer” residents?  Last time I checked, all residents of Dana Point, whether old or new, have equal rights. In fact, newer residents pay a lot more in property taxes than older ones because of higher property valuations. For the record, I’ve been here for almost 30 years, and like most people I’m concerned about special interests trying to take residential homes out of our very tight housing pool and using them for short-term vacation rentals. I suggest Mr. Akason read some of the letters and complaints sent to Code Enforcement from ordinary citizens who are forced to handle the well-documented noise, parties and other nuisances from unsupervised STRs.

While our zoning allows anyone to rent their home for 30 days or more, short-term rentals are not permitted in Dana Point. Rather than suggesting that STR opponents are “taking away property rights,” Mr. Akason should admit the truth that no such property rights exist in Dana Point to begin with. Dana Point’s zoning code allows rentals of a minimum 30 days or more, period.  He also suggests that it’s a good thing to protect homeowners associations from STRs, but he seems to be OK with throwing the rest of us who don’t live with HOA rules under the bus. How fair is that?

I understand he wants to rent his property short-term and turn it into a money maker whether that affects his neighbors or not, but fortunately, we all have property rights. If new STR rights are to be added to our zoning, every resident of Dana Point should be allowed to weigh in on it, since the desires of STR investors (who often don’t even live here) definitely impact the quiet enjoyment of our homes and neighborhoods.

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comments (1)

  • Hi Sandy—- I appreciate your feedback and well written response.

    First, I’m well aware of the petition that was paid for by a local investor and signed by people who were told it was to keep rapists out of our neighborhoods. I was fortunate enough to be told by friends about it so that I could go over and witness it first hand at the grocery stores.

    Second, I own property on an island called Roatan in the Caribbean, I was asked the other day if I”m worried about the politics or government, Ironically, I’ve seen way more property rights abuses in the US than I have experienced or witnessed on this Central American Island.

    Third, when people have owned a vacation home for 40+ years and a neighbor buys next door and then petitions to stop them, as a real estate agent and someone who believes in property rights, I take issue with that as should everyone.

    Fourth, I’ve spoken with Ted Harris, former Sheriff and in charge of code enforcement for the city of Dana Point, by his accounts there have been very few issues.

    Fifth, the ordinance that was in place, if properly enforced would have eliminated problem houses. I know that there are problem houses in the city that are occupied by owners, long term renters, and even short term renters. The city has rules to deal with this, the key is enforcement. 99% of owners, long term renters, and short term renters are great people. Most people that rent short term vacation homes are larger families, families with dogs, or families with disabled people and a home provides better accommodations for them. To turn these groups away from our city because of a few problem houses that need to be dealt with would be a mistake.

    Finally, to be clear, I own one home in Dana Point. I live in it with my family. If my neighbors want to travel for the summer an vacation rent their home, I don’t think the city or I should be able to them they can’t. IF I buy a home on Beach Road I don’t think I should be able to tell my neighbor who has been vacation renting the home for 50 years he should have to stop.

    I believe everyone has property rights, a number of people believe there shouldn’t be a permit requirement, TOT tax. or any special regulations. I believe the ordinance the city worked on for 10 years was good. Likely there was a failure of enforcement. I believe that we should have regulations that ensure quiet and peaceful enjoyment of property.

    To say one believes in property rights for primary resident owners but not landlords or landlords by not primary resident owners is by definition hypocritical. .

    Finally, many courts have ruled that short term vacation rentals are a residential use and therefore, are permitted according to zoning code.

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