May 2, 2017

First Ruling as VR Lawsuit Goes to Court

As reported on the front page of the Desert Sun this morning, a Riverside County Superior court judge, yesterday, denied a request by Protect Our Neighborhoods (PON) to prevent the City of Palm Springs, California from issuing new vacation rental certificates until the court can hear PON's case in its entirety. The ruling, not totally unanticipated, was just the first step of a three-pronged legal strategy designed to compel the city to conduct both an environmental review on the effects of unlimited vacation rentals in Palm Springs, and clarify why these for-profit businesses are singled out for special zoning treatment.

 

Protect Our Neighborhoods has consistently argued that the rapid increase in vacation rental permits has changed the landscape of our neighborhoods. Once a haven for full-time and part-time residents, STRs have turned many blocks into unsupervised "motel rows" as residential R-1 zoned neighborhoods morph into commercial zones.

 

"Unlike Laguna Beach, Anaheim, Carmel-by-the-Sea and many other tourist-dependent cities, which banned these commercial motels in residential neighborhoods, our elected officials continue to throw residents under the bus in order to placate a powerful industry, replete with out of state lobbyists who have openly threatened to recall those who vote against them with unlimited funds," stated Michael Ziskind, Co-chair of Protect Our Neighborhoods."

 

"After seeking a compromise on behalf of residents for four years, PON believes a lawsuit is the next step to protect our neighborhoods. For too long our elected officials have ignored the people that call Palm Springs home insisting that there be no limits, no caps, no inspections, no commercial insurance requirements, or other health and safety regulations which our iconic small hotels must adhere to. And how is that even fair? It's basically the city handing out subsidies to operate commercially to an unlimited number of motels on every block, and to operate the motels almost year-round. We believe that residential zoning is there to protect the property rights of all homeowners, and they should be held sacred, not ignored, as this city has done with so many of its zoning regulations and developments.'

 

"Palm Springs officials decry the fact that we don't have enough long-term rental housing, but they encourage the practice of flipping homes into vacation rentals with no caps or limits. And it's far worse in our more affordable areas such as Demuth Park, which has seen a 30% rise in the number of permitted STRs since December of last year."

 

"This is the 21st century version of blockbusting in our most affordable neighborhoods, and it's sad that the city doesn't recognize the impact on our working class would-be residents that are forced to commute here from Desert Hot Springs and other less costly cities," says Ziskind.

 

 

Mark Owens

Communications Director

Board of Directors

Protect Our Neighborhoods