Cindy Lundquist loves her home and backyard in Cathedral City, but she says she hasn’t been able to enjoy them because she lives in between noisy short term vacation rentals.
“We’ve lived here three and a half years and this is my saving grace and it’s turned into a nightmare,” she says.
Lundquist went to the public forum on short term vacation rentals held on Saturday by the city to let them know she’s been dealing with an illness and these rentals are making her life miserable.
“I’m tired and I can’t even live a good healthy life because of my short term rentals,” she said through tears to a room full of people.
The majority of the people who attended spoke out against them, citing noise, trash and a lost sense of community as the main reasons.
Some called for more regulation while others, like Bob Hargreaves, say all of the regulation in the world can’t solve the real issue.
“It’s just a matter of an inappropriate use of residential neighborhood, because what we have is a commercial event center right there in the middle of a residential neighborhood,” he said to the group.
Rental owners say they improve neighborhoods by investing money into the homes, and have strict rules, plus they generate money for the city.
“We do put a lot of effort and a lot of time and we do give back to our communities,” says Serena Avilez who lives in the city and also manages vacation rentals adding they work hard and self police and be good neighbors.
There is a hotline for people to call and complain about rentals not complying but one resident says they should not be having to constantly police rentals in their own neighborhoods.
The city manager, Charlie McClendon, says there’s about 350 legal short term vacation rentals operating in the city and they generate $600,000 a year.
McClendon says there are compelling arguments on both sides, “There are definitely residents who feel no amount of revenue is worth the disruption of their lives … on the other hand there are those who feel that there is an economic benefit to the community to having the tourists here that spend money in the community and helps the overall economy of Cathedral City,” adding the task force and city council are working hard to find common ground, “they’re interested in trying to come to a solution that everybody can live with.”
The task force will write recommendations based on feedback from forums and the council will vote on them.
McClendon says he expects this to happen until next year.