Yucca Valley freezes new short-term rentals

The City of Yucca Valley has issued a 45-day moratorium on new short-term vacation rentals due to residents’ concerns about noise, parking issues and other impacts on quality of life.

City staff said the freeze is expected to be extended, possibly until April, as the city works to resolve the issues.

They say the “hiatus” will allow Yucca Valley to hold public hearings, gather feedback from residents and conduct research to formulate new long-term regulations on short-term rentals. City council members, staff, and some Yucca Valley residents note that rentals have been a significant source of income for the area and have expressed a desire to keep the local industry going – albeit under new rules.

Short-term rental boom

Yucca Valley has seen a rapid increase in new short-term rentals this year. The city had a total of 175 active vacation rentals from the time it began licensing in 2017 until the end of 2020, according to city staff. It added 124 new short-term rentals this year, a 70% increase and a marked acceleration in vacation rental business.

While the city has benefited financially from the taxes levied on these rentals, the emergency ordinance that enabled the Yucca Valley moratorium cites the expression of “many” residents of “public safety and health and safety concerns. general well-being regarding the adverse effects of short-term vacation rentals “. It specifically notes “numerous” complaints about “excessive noise, parking, litter, disorderly behavior and concerns about safety and public safety in short-term vacation rentals.”

He concludes that “the potential establishment of additional short-term vacation rentals in the City constitutes a current and immediate threat to the public health, safety and well-being of the City due to the negative impacts of these accommodations.

Yucca Valley residents at a city council meeting on Tuesday also raised concerns about the density of short-term rentals in their neighborhoods. Resident Jill Smith said her home in the Country Club neighborhood of Yucca Valley has seen a rapid increase in new short-term rentals, resulting in five within 300 feet of her home.

“I’m certainly not averse to short-term vacation rentals, I stay there all the time when I travel. I see them as more for the community,” Smith said. “But in our neighborhood, where people are raising families, are retired, live our day to day lives, having five within 300 feet of my house is just too much.”

With just under 22,000 residents, Yucca Valley has about half the population of Palm Springs. The city has 299 active short-term rentals, according to a staff report presented at Tuesday’s meeting. Yucca Valley’s short-term rental density per person per housing unit is lower than Palm Springs or Idyllwild, another local vacation destination that is experiencing a decline in residents amid a boom in short-term rentals, although that the situation of this community be complicated by its unincorporated status. .

Respond to residents’ concerns

Yucca Valley does not yet have a clear plan for the changes that will address the issues raised by residents. City staff intend to use the moratorium period to research solutions implemented in other cities, collect public hearings to gather feedback from residents and design new rules that will reduce these issues, according to City Clerk Lesley Copeland.

City council member Rick Denison said in Tuesday’s meeting that the solutions under consideration included “fines, escalation of compliance, funding measures – possibly with changes (transitional occupancy tax) ( and) increases in personnel and technology “.

“These are all things that are being discussed right now,” Denison said. “We still have a lot of work to do.” Denison likened the moratorium to “stopping the bleeding” from an injury.

In an email, Managing Director Curtis Yakimow highlighted local government support for increased tourism to the region over the past year and said he expected “the majority of changes (on the agenda short-term rental) will be relatively modest “.

The first public hearing on the short-term rental issue following the moratorium will take place at the city’s planning committee meeting at 6 p.m. on November 23. Staff have indicated that they intend to complete the search and hearing process by April 2022.

California state law sets inflexible requirements for the duration of moratoria instituted under an emergency order. Since 45 days will likely not be enough to complete hearings and research, Yucca Valley staff said the moratorium will likely be extended.

Yakimow noted that there is “a possibility” that this extension will not happen and said the city intends to have the “regulations updated as quickly as possible and will repeal the moratorium as soon as possible”.

James B. Cutchin covers business in the Coachella Valley. Contact him at [email protected]

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