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Cathedral City holds heated public forum on short-term vacation rentals

It was standing room only Tuesday night as Cathedral City’s short-term vacation rental task force heard public comment on the heated issue of vacation rentals.

“I think we learned that there’s some in the community that feels we should not have them at all. There are others that believe we can work out solutions, said city manager Charlie McClendon.

Back in July, the city council voted to suspend any new vacation rentals indefinitely and looked to the task force to come up with future recommendations.

“We came here to live in a nice, peaceful city,” said Karen Panico-Willis, a Cathedral City resident who says the vacation rentals have gotten out of hand. She and others who spoke at the meeting said they’re fed up with the parties and noise in their neighborhoods that they said arrive when short-term renters come to town.

But some who rent their homes, like Akua Maat, said the noise issue is being amplified out of proportion.

“In most cases, I think that’s just a misconception that everyone that’s doing short-term is renting it to party… And that’s really unfair,” Maat said.

The city said in the first five months of this year, there were 36 noise-related calls from 22 rental properties. But just six of those rentals accounted for two-thirds of the calls.

Some at the meeting said code compliance in the city has been virtually unresponsive.

“People talk about calling code compliance and no one answering the phone until Monday,” Jim Cox said. “That’s got to stop. They need better enforcement.”

“I’m hopeful that we can find a solution that everybody will agree on and give that a try,” McClendon said. “It remains to be seen whether that’s possible or not.”

If you missed your chance to have your voice heard on this issue, you have another opportunity later this month. The city will host another public forum on Saturday, Oct. 19 at the city hall from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

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