William Matthies, Dana Point
Shilpa Bhimani’s recent letter regarding short-term rentals asked questions about the situation on Beach Road. I will answer them.
The question was, “If there were supposedly 600 complaints on Beach Road, why does no one at the city have any record of it?”
The city has no record because they do not enforce their code, at least not on Beach Road. How do I know that? Code Enforcement Officer, an ironic title, Ted Harris, told me that our complaints regarding STRs should go to the police or be handled by our district security, not him.
In 2015, there were 624 calls to our security regarding STRs, as of July that year the total was 309. Year to date in July 2016, the number was 365, an 18 percent increase. Why are these numbers so high? Approximately one out of every five of the 200 homes on Beach Road are available for short-term rental, whether they’re registered with the city or not. Over 40,000 STR vehicle entries/departures a year.
The numbers I quote are gathered by the district and are accurate. Complaints cover everything from noise, illegal fires and parking to theft, vandalism and even an alleged physical assault of an 87-year-old full-time resident by a much younger and very drunk short-term renter.
Property owners who either live in their house, renting out a portion, or live next door, are responsible people who do not tolerate what the overwhelming majority of absentee owners allow. If the City Council had included a provision requiring onsite management, and most importantly, enforced their code, there wouldn’t be well over 600 complaints about STRs on Beach Road.
By the time this letter appears, the referendum date to gather signatures will have passed. If it succeeds I hope we can revisit the STR issue, creating revised enforced code that satisfies both sides of the discussion. If it fails, the forces opposed to STRs, group homes and other related problems within the city, will shift their focus to bring about much needed, widespread change throughout all levels of Dana Point government.
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