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GEORGE RAY, Capistrano Beach

Would you ask your neighbors for their permission to rent your home? Would you ask the permission of your neighbors if you wanted to sell your home? Should your neighbors have approval rights on to whom you rent or sell your home?

Renting a home on a 30-day basis or for a year is also a business. Short-term rentals (STRs) are a rental except for a shorter length of time. In both cases, the income I receive from my long-term and short-term rentals shows up on my tax return on the same tax form line. Granted, there are some differences and ramifications. However, the issues of upkeep, noise and parking are similar with short- and long-term rentals. I believe, if managed correctly, these issues are more controllable in an STR than a long-term rental.

I made substantial financial investments to my properties to make them enticing as STRs. Arguments about declining property values due to STRs have no factual basis, and I believe that my improvements have increased the value of the adjacent properties. I have never suggested an unrestricted number of STRs, nor have I suggested that the Coastal Commission wanted to allow an unrestricted number of STRs in Dana Point.

By comparison, Newport Beach has approximately 1,500 STRs; Dana Point has 147.  STRs are not a major issue here in Dana Point, as reflected in Dana Point’s recent survey. That survey asked the public a leading question, “What if there was a STR next to you?” If the survey had included an initial statement suggested by Councilmember Joe Muller, such as “If there was a STR next to you and there were strong penalties if they violated the rules against noise and parking,” I believe there would have been very different survey results. More importantly, if the survey had asked, “Do STRs impact your life?”, I bet that the answer would have been “no” from the vast majority of our residents.

Again, STRs are not an important community issue compared to homelessness and traffic. The STR survey included a general question about what were the communitywide concerns that the City should focus on. The results indicated that out of 19 city problems, STRs were tied with city corruption and the speed of the Harbor Revitalization Project. There were 11 other city problems of higher priority to the public. What is the justification for a vote on STRs when STRs are not an important issue to the vast majority of Dana Point residents? The council has done the correct thing not wasting the taxpayers’ money on a vote. I am for strict enforcement of rules governing STRs, and that is where the effort should be directed.

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