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2014-09-28 17:44:23
IW discusses stricter vacation rental rules

Indian Wells officials are discussing stricter enforcement of vacation rentals — including prohibiting them during the Coachella Valley Music Festival and Stagecoach weekends — as they debate how to curb party homes in the city.

The ideas were discussed Tuesday during a two-and-a-half hour study session, where no decisions were made and where council members held off on setting the minimum days allowed for short term rentals.

Instead, the City Council provided guidance on a new ordinance that they hope gives police more enforcement tools and invokes stiffer fines to deter problem homes.

'No matter what we do, three days, 30 days, 60 days … the bottom line is we are going to create a very specific, well defined enforcement plan,' Mayor Ted Mertens said.

Whether or not to allow short-term rentals has been a hot topic across the Coachella Valley, where cities are taking various approaches to balancing the needs of full-time residents with the desires of visitors who are looking for different types of accommodations.

Since May, Indian Wells officials have worked to alter the ordinance to appease the neighbors of problem spots while, at the same time, working with the owners of short-term vacation rentals. Those opposed to the practice would like anything less than 30 days prohibited, while those in favor want to see at least weekend rentals allowed.

Many of the complaints stem from loud parties when homes are rented during big events like the nationally known music festivals or the BNP Paribas Tennis tournament.

'Maybe we don't allow any rentals during Coachella-fest and Stagecoach' Mayor Pro Tem Ty Peabody said.

Impassioned pleas filled the council chamber Tuesday as folks on both sides on the subject tried to persuade the city officials in their favor.

Seventeen people spoke during public comment, 11 of whom were opposed to short-term rentals.

'The city has a heritage of luxury, exclusivity and tranquility. Its reputation … must not be allowed to deteriorate into a party town where anything goes,' longtime resident John Emerson said. 'The only reasonable solution is to limit home rentals to 30 days or more,'

Patricia Lestz thinks all the negativity toward short-term vacation rentals has made her and other law abiding landlords feel like 'second-class citizens.'

'I've never had a problem. I love my home why would I want other people to destroy it or to aggravate my neighbors,' she said about renting out her longtime Indian Wells home.

'I'm doing it so I can keep my home.'

On May 5, the council adopted a temporary moratorium and prohibited vacation rentals for less than 30 days. Previously, the city had allowed for a rental of a minimum of 3 days.

On June 5, after a slew of owners of vacation rental homes shared their concerns over not being able to make money and use their own property as they wish, the council revised the minimum requirements to 7 days while city staff continued to research the matter.

Council on Tuesday was presented with research conducted by city staff on vacation rental policies in other cities to help in their decision. Results of a Virtual Town Hall forum, which allowed people to share their thoughts online, also were presented.

The next meeting on the subject is in January. At that time, city staff will provide more information based on council's suggestions.

John Burton, who lives next door to a problematic vacation rental, said he and others would go as far as to file a lawsuit or push for a future ballot measure if anything less than 30 days is allowed.

Mertens said was 'disappointed with the threats' against the council.

'We have the best interest of the city at heart. We're doing our best. We're listening to everybody,' he said.

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2014-09-28 17:44:23
IW discusses stricter vacation rental rules

2011-05-22 15:42:53
Valley home ownership holds firm


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