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La Quinta City Council to act on short-term vacation rentals program

The La Quinta City Council is set to vote Tuesday evening on changes to its short-term vacation rentals ordinance.

The La Quinta City Council is set to vote Tuesday evening on changes to its short-term vacation rentals ordinance.

As written, the proposed ordinance will not impose any limits on the number of vacation rentals in the city, a concern many neighbors have voiced at recent meetings as single-family homes are purchased by investors and converted into short-term rentals.

The new ordinance will also not address noise concerns with new regulations residents have called for.

Some proposed changes would require adequate onsight parking, create a noise devices pilot program for large estate rental homes, and create new permitting fees.

The city currently has more than 1,200 licensed stvr properties with another 400 believed to be unpermitted.

People on both sides of the debate reacted to the proposed ordinance at a special meeting last week.

"My husband and I own two properties at PGA West," said Mindy Moran in support of the short-term vacation rentals. "It seems much of what is being proposed will do nothing to deal with the problemed homes. The homes that are causing problems, causing real problems."

Another resident, Janice Thorbo argued, "Why do you vigorously defend the rights of stvr owners while dismissing the rights of residents who want to live amongst neighbors rather than a torrent of transient tourists? I really want to know why."

One advocate for the rentals called for fines for those who make unsubstantiated complaints, "If we're going to fine short term vacation rental owners, then we also need to fine people who are making multiple complaints and wasting the city's time and resources.

As written, the proposed ordinance also won't change occupancy limits, the number of stvr rental bookings in a year, or the number of stvr properties individuals can own or operate.

According to city data, two-thirds of the city's short-term vacation rental properties are owned by people who live outside the Coachella Valley. 95 percent of the city's stvr owners have a single rental property.

A Rancho Mirage activist against the rental properties told the council, "This failed model turns residents into first responders." Michael Ziskin continued, "It endangers their lives if they complain, and threatens their children's safety with an unending stream of unvetted of strangers coming and going."

Today's meeting begins at 4:00 p.m. at La Quinta City Hall.

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