As a tax paying resident of Laguna Beach, I am deeply disturbed by the Council’s vote to ban all short term rentals except in commercial zones. This ban was based on flawed numbers by city staff, a very well organized vocal minority in town (read Village Laguna’s hand) and intimidation tactics. That the council was not willing to consider a compromise position underscores just how intimidated and controlled they are by this minority.
The people for allowing short term rentals do not want absentee landlords, do not want houses turned over to permanent Airbnb houses, do not want loud parties, do not want parking issues. They are for allowing a homeowner to rent out their primary residence while they are living in it. Or to allow a fully vetted family to live in their home, with their belongings, while they are on vacation with a caretaker available within 15 minutes. They are for regulating and oversight.
These are not people who want their homes and belongings trashed by anyone. This is not a high turnover, neighbors be damned situation. If the current STR owners were encouraged and allowed to comply with a reasonable ordinance and AUP process, Laguna would be collecting millions of dollars more in bed taxes. Money that could have gone to get the few bad apples out and regulate all STR so no one is hurt. But sadly, the Council just listened to the hysterical unverifiable anecdotes of the organized minority and caved without listening to any compromise.
Why am I, a taxpayer, concerned? Because folks, this isn’t over. Just like with the Alternative Sleeping Location, there will be lawsuits. Coastal Commission is going to get involved, the pro STL group is not going to just fold up its tent, and even more exciting is the fact that people will now go underground.
How much do you think it will cost to ferret out the evildoers and prosecute them? I’ll bet one or two will file a lawsuit that you, the taxpayer, will have to fund. What a horrible waste of taxpayer’s money when it could have been so easily avoided with a compromise.
This ban will cost taxpayers money instead of getting more money in bed tax. It is indeed sad when Laguna is ruled by the old guard vocal power connected minority, who seem to feel that it is their right to keep everyone out of Laguna. I guess they have lots of money that they don’t mind wasting.
Michèle Monda, Laguna Beach