Letter: Regarding the STL Vote on June 4

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Laguna residents need to contact each member of the City Council and ask them to support the Short-Term Lodging ordinance on June 4.

This is the second vote for the modified version of the Short-Term Lodging (STL) ordinance that the Planning Commission approved 5-0 and the City Council originally unanimously approved 5-0 in 2016 after 11 public hearings attended by hundreds and hundreds of residents.

Councilmember Dicterow reported in August 2016 when he joined in the 5-0 vote approving the initial ordinance, that what he learned from walking neighborhoods and reading the over 500 emails he received, the most he said he had ever received on an issue in Laguna, was that the community was overwhelmingly—and he repeated the word “overwhelmingly”—“10 to 1”—opposed to STLs in residential neighborhoods. That has not changed.

There is no getting around the simple fact that STLs are commercial businesses. And the zoning code clearly states that commercial businesses are not allowed in residential zoned neighborhoods.

The ordinance is not a ban. The proposed ordinance is more than fair to all. Laguna is doing the right thing by limiting the STL locations to Laguna’s commercial and mixed-use zones, where visitors prefer to stay.

We see more and more reports in the news that cities around the world who were initially permissive about allowing some form of STLs in residential neighborhoods are learning from their mistakes, find they cannot control use levels, and are having trouble unraveling the mess they find themselves in. Don’t let the City Council put Laguna’s residents in the same mess.

Allowing STL businesses in residential neighborhoods puts profits ahead of residents.

If the City Council allows STL businesses in your residential neighborhood, what other businesses will they allow next?

Who benefits from allowing STL businesses in your residential neighborhood? You don’t.

Failure of the Coastal Commission to consider and approve this ordinance will only cause additional delays.

Let’s give this ordinance a chance. If the ordinance allowing STLs in commercial and mixed-use areas works out well, we’ll find out. If it isn’t working out well, we’ll hear that too and can make adjustments. Why not go forward with the proposed ordinance and give it a try?

Ask the Council to show with a “yes” vote that it prioritizes quality of life and the quiet enjoyment of the “overwhelming” number of residents who oppose STLs in residential zones.

John Thomas, Laguna Beach

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2 COMMENTS

  1. That’s a load of baloney John Thomas. Many many local residents would enjoy the option of occasionally renting out their home, or a portion of their home, in a home-sharing model. Many actually enjoy the exchange of cultures and welcoming visitors to our town who wish to stay for a long weekend, a week, or even several weeks in a home setting with their families. The only thing overwhelming is the noise and demonization of all residential home-sharing by NIMBY residents like you and Village Laguna, but although organized, your numbers are not that large. This ordinance is absolutely a ban, a 100% ban, on all home sharing in all residential zones. It is once again based on false data and statements compiled by the City to pull another snow job on the CA Coastal Commission. Even if not defeated at this next city council meeting, this ordinance will be rejected once again by the CCC once the false statements and false City data are again exposed. Sad that our city government wastes so much time on deception. Homesharing limited to Laguna residents (not outside investors) can be reasonably regulated and controlled. Laguna residents should be afforded the opportunity to participate in home sharing as a valuable property rights. Making some extra money by engaging in home sharing from time to time is not some evil dastardly crime. There has been nominal STL complaints over the past 3 years in Laguna since the last time the city tried to ban STLs – doesn’t that tell you something? That your fears are greatly exaggerated and your claims false.

  2. John Thomas –

    You seem to be a shill for the multi-billion dollar hotel properties in this town. Don’t believe the hype. Use some common sense.

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