I respectfully submit my feelings regarding short-term rentals as an outsider, yet someone who feels like Laguna is like a second home. My grandparents first took their family to Laguna Beach in 1959. As most do, they immediately fell in love with the beauty and uniqueness of this amazing place. Since that time, our family has come back to Laguna Beach for two weeks every summer– marking 57 years this August. Along the way, we became close friends with residents, who also owned rentals that we would use. As they aged and passed away, we have done whatever we could to adapt to and find new rentals and places to stay. We stayed at Aliso Creek for many years, but as it was torn down and rebuilt in its latest form, it no longer provides the amenities we need and has become too expensive. For the first time last year, we were forced to go further south and stay in Dana Point, while still making the drive up every day to enjoy the places in Laguna we have held sacred since our childhood.
We are now caught up in a firestorm as almost every beach community in Orange County is driving to restrict access to short term rentals. We understand your position as residents and homeowners of wanting to maintain everything that makes this community so special. Through the years we have fought other vacationers who were not respecting Laguna in various ways. We love Laguna and her many charms. Her pictures and art adorn our walls at home. Her sand lines the carpets of our cars and the lining of our clothing. Our savings have been spent in her many amazing shops and restaurants.
We respect her when we visit. We are not the ones partying late into the night, or parking in your driveways, and feel bad that others do. I fear the irresponsibility of some is permanently ruining the opportunity for others. At the age of 37, I have started a small family of my own. It is devastating to think that I won’t be able to keep this special tradition going for my kids as my grandparents and parents did for me. Hotel rooms do not have the amenities a full family needs, and we cannot afford to rent a home for an entire month. I don’t know where that will leave us, but will always hope that there will continue to be a way for us to come back.
James Paul Whipple, Salt Lake City, Utah