As an artist and home remodel builder, I have lived in Laguna Beach 30 years and worked multiple jobs to pay my mortgage simply to live near the ocean among neighbors and friends. Our street has many neighbors, like me, who work very hard to live in a stable community where we know each other (and our dogs).
Short-term lodging will destroy the stability of our neighborhood as vacationers exploit the serenity and peace for short-term fun. Neighbors, especially working teachers, carpenters and artists will be displaced by landlords seeking to profit from our community. The economics of short-term rentals is significantly disproportionate to standard rentals to constitute a form of economic discrimination against retirees on fixed pensions and middle class families on modest incomes.
We have witnessed the destruction of coastal communities from short-term rentals and short-term thinking. Years ago, short term rentals overwhelmed Balboa Island and the Newport Beach Peninsula with unbearable congestion, crime and parties.
Laguna Beach now successfully hosts over 6 million annual visitors without the need for short term rentals. Our visitor population has doubled over the past several years and tourists enjoy public access to the coast without the need to stay overnight.
Laguna Beach, however, suffers from a lack of affordable rentals. Homeowners in need of extra income can perform a service to the community by renting rooms to long-term resident artists, seniors, workers and others while supplementing their own incomes with a reliable renter. Removing affordable rentals for conversion to capitalize on tourists will require replacing long-term housing policies for a few to gain short-term money. Short-term rentals are an intense commercial activity wisely banned in residential zones.
The California Coastal Commission’s mission is “to protect, conserve, restore, and enhance the environment of the California coastline.” Destroying the integrity of coastal communities to flood them with short-term rentals will not enhance nor conserve the environment, which includes the small village scale neighborhoods and communities of the California coastline.
Please respect the history and value of coastal communities by granting Laguna Beach’s request for certification of our Local Coastal Plan Amendment No. 1-16 restricting new Short Term Lodgings to commercial zones only.
Thank you for respecting all Californians,
Michael Beanan, Laguna Beach