Debates Spread Across Desert Cities On Short-term Vacation Rentals

Nico Payne

As the season changes and people start to flock to the desert to escape the cold or just for a visit, short-term vacation rentals may or may not be an option depending on where you are looking to stay.

“Today’s been a rough day because there was a town hall meeting last night in Yucca Valley, which is where we are, it doesn’t affect Joshua Tree or Twentynine palms that I know of,” said Nicole Masters, Yucca Valley Resident.

Masters, who have been documenting her short-term vacation rental journey on social media, posted on Wednesday reacting to the issued 45-day moratorium.

“The moratorium means at least for 45 days, they are not accepting any applications and they are also making changes to the short-term rental process,” explained Masters.

A couple of days after receiving the news, we caught up with masters to see how she is pivoting to make her short-term rental work.

“It just puts a large kink in our plans because we’re not even able to apply for the permit until the moratorium is over, we don’t know how long the moratorium is going to take. Our plan is to rent it out the long term until we are able to move forward with something more short-term,” added Masters.

And in the Coachella Valley, where short-term vacation rentals have been a hot topic, residents in La Quinta are seeking a ballot initiative that would set a minimum stay in residential neighborhoods.

“What we are primarily advocating is that rentals within a residentially zoned area, I’ll call them family neighborhoods, would have a minimum rental period of 30 days, in other words, you couldn’t rent nightly,” explained Don Schoffstall, La Quinta Resident.

Don is certain this initiative will pass, he and a group of motivated volunteers will need to collect 3,000 signatures in order to get a measure on the ballot for 2022.

“Nobody bought their home, took their life savings to invest into a home to find out that they are going to live next to a commercial business. you certainly wouldn’t do that if it was a muffler shop,” explained Schoffstall.

Others say they understand the need for rules and regulations but wish they had more notice before applications were no longer accepted, also pointing out the biggest problems stemming from the rentals.

“I think it’s just density, one of the issues as well, is just people feeling like their neighborhoods are more short-term rentals or getting to a point where there’s going to be just as many short-term rentals as regular neighbors,” said Masters.

“This goes beyond just noise, I mean there were, I’ll say, just physical incidents that no person living in a residential neighborhood should ever have to deal with,” added Schoffstall.

Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, and Indian Wells are some of the desert cities that deemed short-term vacation rentals as incompatible. And depending on where you look, moving forward it appears the vacation rentals will become more scarce.

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