If Measure C passes, short-term vacation rentals (less than 28 days), in residential neighborhoods would be banned in Palm Springs. Some argue this is a bad idea, others are voting “yes”.
For visitors like Paddy Hannon, visiting Palm Springs and staying in a vacation rental is a necessity.
“Now that we are a family, staying in a vacation rental makes sense. We can go out to dinner like we did last night, make breakfast at home, feed our son, put him down and then hang out at the pool,” says Hannon.
But for some living next to a short-term vacation rental can be a nightmare. Palm Springs resident Kyle Hammons says, “the biggest issue is just the disturbance and not being able to sleep in my own home.”
On June 5th, Palm Springs will vote whether or not to ban vacation rentals all together. Rob Grimm, the Campaign Manager for Palm Springs Neighbors for Neighbors who are ‘Yes On C,’ says they need to go.
“The biggest issue is that it’s an unsupervised hotel. The people that are coming are typically more of the party type and they make noise and ruckus and everything else,” says Grimm.
But those who are ‘No On C’ say that’s not true. Palm Springs already has a strict ordinance. Bruce Hoban, the Co-Chair of ‘We Love Palm Springs who are ‘No On C,’ says “absolutely give the ordinance more of a chance.”
There are nearly 2000 registered vacation rentals in the City of Palm Springs. According to an economic impact study, paid for by the city, there would be a $10.5 million loss, if vacation rentals disappear.”
Palm Springs City Manager David Ready says, “we have the transiency occupancy tax, property tax and then some sales tax.” He says that losing that income would hurt local services.
“We currently just added a new paramedic crew, 4-5 police officers, and those are things that we can do with the revenue we have,” says Ready.
But Grimm says those numbers aren’t accurate, “they never counted anywhere for the value of a resident in their impact study. The city doesn’t seem to care about a resident. They never came up with that when the houses go empty, they’re not disappearing. They’re going to be filled by long-term renters or owners and owners spend a lot more.”
Some local residents would agree. “They have car repairs to make, they have medical expenses, they have all sorts of expenses that tourists don’t have,” says Hammons.
But those in the vacation rental business say banning them would destroy the tourism industry.
Hoban says, “yes, we have a pool person. Yes, we have a gardener. Getting rid of vacation rentals will get rid of 46% of all the beds we offer our tourists to stay in, that’s half the tourists.”
The Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce says it could financially hurt more than just Palm Springs.
Joshua Bonner of the Chamber of Commerce says, “I think anytime you take inventory out of the system. That’s going to have a cascading effect, not just on Palm Springs, but other cities as well and just the overall ability to attract tourism.”
It could also hurt property values in Palm Springs if homeowners start to sell.
“Whenever you put a glut of houses on the market, you’re going to drive the market down on some level,” says Paul Herrera of the California Desert Association of Realtors.
That being said, it may help real estate in other cities. “If they fully ban them, more of that investment will go into other parts of the valley, there’s no doubt about that,” says Herrera.
Athalie Lapamuk is a vacation rental and Palm Springs business owner, and she feels vacation rentals drives the tourism industry. “I think there’s going to be a whole set of people who don’t even know about Palm Springs because there isn’t that type of accommodation or whatever they are looking for,” she says.
And vacation rental owner Erich Redder says banning vacation rentals gives the wrong impression to tourists, “by banning vacation rentals, you’re telling tourists, ‘Sorry, we really don’t want you here.'”
But some residents, like Rick Fearns, say they want to leave the city if it doesn’t pass, “absolutely, I’ve been looking at Rancho Mirage.”
Fellow resident Mike Garibaldi-Frick agrees, “we probably would move from Palm Springs also.”
As for visitor Paddy Hannon, he wants vacation rentals. “It would make it harder to come out as often as we do,” he says.
But those on both sides say they welcome tourists to Palm Springs. They just have different opinions on where they should stay.
Again, the vote is on June 5th. If the vote passes, the rental ban will go into effect when the vote is certified. The city says home owners will be able to rent their homes until their current permits expire. We will continue following with story, on-air and online.