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Lynn Smith, Capistrano Beach

There have been several well-written letters to the editor (i.e. Toni Nelson, Sharon Marshall, Barbara Wilson) that do a great job of painting the picture from all angles concerning what the big changes to our beach community would look like if short-term rentals are allowed to run over our community and turn over control of such to the California Coastal Commission.

Letters on the other side of the debate, including the one penned by Peggy Verkest, says she is offended by the long-term rental opponent’s letters and calls them “scare tactics.” She asks that people think “logically” about the short-term renters, they would never party in the rented house. I believe everyone that wants short-term rentals should think realistically about the pending major problem with allowing short-term rentals. Most other cities are banning the practice entirely.

My neighbor in Capo Beach told me this story: a renter in a complex, a few doors down from his house, started renting out the apartment she rents to vacationers without the permission of her landlord. She was told to “cease and desist” but did it another time anyway. This incident shows the major problems with a free-for-all short-term rental policy that will be impossible to monitor or control by our city’s “one man cyber police” employee. That employees’ salary is costly enough, not to mention the cost to hire more people to do an impossible job.

I bought my house in Capistrano Beach in 1976 and rented here for five years before that. I do not expect to have to defend our community’s character from a few (the City Council) who want to open our city to short-term rental regardless of what is going on in most all cities surrounding us, and regardless of what most residents of Dana Point want. It should not be a battle to get responsible governing for our city.

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About The Author Dana Point Times

comments (5)

  • Cyber police and their pay us high. No one ever says that about other people and the pay for their jobs. What a lame city.

  • Your article starts out by chastising Peggy Verkest for using the term “scare tactics,” but then you continue on to write an article that consists of nothing but scare tactics. You cite zero facts. The only thing brought up besides your *feelings* about the situation is an unsubstantiated story you heard through a neighbor who probably heard it through another neighbor. Please consider writing a new article that brings a fresh viewpoint to the table or, at the very least, cites statistics and facts. I’ll start you off with this. Per AirDna.Co, all of Dana Point boasts only 132 active rentals on Airbnb, 33 of which are only private room rentals in owner-occupied homes. Of the 132 properties, 81% are only rented for 1-3 months per year(!). There are 16,000 dwelling units (apartments + homes) in Dana Point, which means vacation rentals represent a whopping 0.8% of the housing stock. Does Dana Point really need what is likely a small minority fighting for its “community character” against 0.8% of its homes? By the way, of those 132 properties, how many did the city receive noise complaints on? These are the sort of facts I would like to hear about in your article. The city can provide that statistic on complaints. If the number is anything like Hermosa Beach’s # of complaints (4 last year! Yet they still banned it), then I don’t think a ban on homeowners renting their private property for less than 30 days is what “most residents want” in Dana Point. If you can bring more neutral fact-based information to the table, we can get a real debate going in an informed manner free of scare tactics.

    • to LA from Aug 27

      Let me give you a fresh viewpoint with some statistics and facts! Back in 2013, when forming Ordinance 5.38 , the City estimated that there were approximately 250 short term rentals operating in Dana Point. ( That was after several years of collecting data)
      Well, one neighborhood had 125 active advertising properties on VRBO at that time. THAT IS 50% of all properties that were accounted for by the city. Niguel Beach Terrace has a community of 368 condos and the 125 units were advertised on VRBO. That is 37% of the community….or 1 out of every 3 condos. Try to live with those numbers! It is not the peace and quiet enjoyment of your home that is supposed to be part of home ownership.
      Go back and look at the documents with the Ordinance 5.38 from 2013. You will see mid way through the report a map of the Coastal Zone and where the short term rentals were operating.
      The blue dots indicated know short term rental ( by their advertising). Each neighborhood was a pastel color and labeled by name. Niguel Beach Terrace says on the plat map that it was a peach color. However, the blue dots were so numerous that the entire community was navy blue–look it up! That is the truth! and not scare tactics–but it is truly scary.

  • LA, in your analysis of how many listings are on Airbnb and how few of them there were, you failed to mention the 1,422 properties listed on VRBO and the 70 properties listed on Craigslist just for Dana Point. The city has only permitted a small fraction of all these places so when they claim there’s only been 6 complaints in the past they haven’t even begun to get all of them permitted yet and will never be able to get everyone. How about the people who rent their place for 30 days which is permitted but then four different families take a week each which adds to the revolving door of different people, some good and others bad. We’re talking quality of life for neighbors living next to these BUSINESSES OPERATING AS HOTELS and that’s not what people signed up for when they bought their homes. I’m surprised the major hotels in Dana Point haven’t shown up to complain about the competition the vacation rentals are giving them since they pay over $14 million dollars a year in bed tax to this town which is a huge part of the city’s annual operating budget.

  • Lynn,

    All the reason you list for not allowing short term rentals are odd and ill conceived.

    1) Short Term rentals have operated on Beach Roach and in Capo Beach for over half a century. This is a well documented fact, backed up by the city. The ordinance simply legalizes an act that has been going on for a very long time. So this ordinance in no way changes the “community’s character”
    2) Your friend is apparently having an issue with an illegal short term rental. Because of the ordinance, we now have an enforcement officer who can quickly put an end to the issue. If you haven’t met Ted Harris, you should, a former police officer who is very intelligent. She needs to call him if there is a legitimate issue.
    3) There are actually quite easy ways to monitor and control short term rentals, there are only 2 major websites where you can advertise on, VRBO and Airbnb. Our enforcement department is very good at figuring out where these illegal rentals are operating by perusing these websites..
    4) Getting rid of the ordinance means going back to the way it was in the past. Short Term rentals brought in over $400K in tax revenue last year. A percentage of this was used to pay for enforcement. If you take away the ordinance, how will we pay for enforcement officers?
    5) Some cities allow them, i.e. Newport Beach, while others don’t i.e. Laguna Beach. Because we live in a coastal zone, governed by the California Coastal Act. Any city prohibiting short term rentals now faces legal action with the Coastal Commission. In my opinion this is a terrible way to spend our tax dollars.

    If a school teacher like Ms Verkest wants to rent her home out in the summer, while visiting family, why in the world should we prevent her from doing so? We live in a beautiful city that many wonderful people from around the world want to visit.

    We need to keep Dana Point “friendly”, not closed off. We have a system that works perfectly well, the ordinance has been very successful, hard to understand why anyone would consider going back to the way things were.

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