ROGER MALCOLM, Capistrano Beach

When I moved to Capistrano Beach 31 years ago, it never occurred to me I’d one day be enduring a short-term rental business next door. My house is not in a homeowners association (HOA), but like everyone else, I relied on the city to honor residential zoning and make sure neighbors—and not commercial businesses—occupied adjacent properties. Now the city is considering breaking that promise and allowing short-term rentals (STRs) throughout the city. Mayor Joe Muller has stated that HOAs, like the one he lives in, would remain “protected,” but perhaps he’s not aware of the illegal STR issues endured by HOAs like Niguel Beach Terrace and others. It appears that no one is really safe if the council enacts a broad STR ordinance.

After numerous complaints and fines, my neighbor is now sticking to 30-day vacation rentals, which are legal everywhere, and definitely less of a nuisance. While the illegal STRs were ongoing, we endured constant noise, parties (often starting after midnight), cigar and cigarette smoke wafting into our bedrooms and living areas and incessant light pollution from patios illuminated all night long. And then there was the drug paraphernalis—needles and syringes left at the curb for our kids to find, and coarse language and raucous behavior from the kinds of tourists that can’t afford the place but pool funds with others to invade our neighborhoods. Add to that the invasion of privacy from transient people staring into our windows, overflowing trash cans left at the curb on any day of the week, and the constant fear that these unknown people could be casing our place. Is it any wonder we reported these nuisances repeatedly until, despite the fact that fines weren’t even close to the money being made, our neighbor shut down this illegal business?

Mr. Ray waxed on his letter to the Dana Point Times last week about the lovely, quiet tenants at his legal short-term rental businesses. No doubt he’s a responsible owner, but I wonder how happy his neighbors are. Does anyone reallywant to risk their privacy, quiet enjoyment of their home, and the property value of their often largest asset so that their neighbor can earn money in this invasive way? I don’t ask you to suffer my efforts to make a living. Please return the favor. 

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