10% cap on STRs, please
While most of the hard work is behind us, and the new short-term rental (STR) ordinance does have additional teeth, what we really need now is for the county supervisors to recognize and acknowledge that Idyllwild has by far the highest percentage of STRs in the county. We now need a carve out with a cap for Idyllwild.
Our current county supervisor, Chuck Washington, as well as our soon to be Supervisor Manuel Perez, will both be in Idyllwild from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3. They want to hear from the community regarding STRs.
The previous Town Hall that took place last year was an extreme exhibition of unruly behavior, that in my opinion bordered on barbaric at times. Many older folk who simply wanted to share their negative experiences with STRs were shouted down.
It is truly my hope that this Town Hall will be different, and folk can show respect on both sides.
STRs have been a part of Idyllwild for decades, but they have gotten to a point where their negative effects on our community cannot be ignored. Some of the issues our town has encountered from STRs are: Uneducated guests regarding fire; long-term housing shortages; problems for employers to find workers due to said housing shortage; loud, rowdy parties due to poorly managed homes; and long-term residents in some cases surrounded by multiple short STRs/mini-hotels.
Sadly, folk who have lived on the Hill for a long time had their long-term rentals turned into STRs and were forced to move off the Hill due to affordability if they could even find a long-term rental.
As some folk say, Idyllwild is a vacation destination, but the folk who live here full-time, combined with the folk who use their homes exclusively for their own enjoyment as a second home, and have no affiliation with the downtown businesses or the STRs, make up the majority of people in our town. They simply purchased homes here to enjoy the beauty and tranquility that is Idyllwild, which has survived for decades with far less business and revenue than it has now. I support and I’m all for businesses, just like to keep them separate from the residential neighborhoods.
There are 500-plus registered and probably another 150 or more unregistered. That’s around 18% of all homes in Idyllwild/Pine Cove that are now owned and operated to some degree by STR folk. It’s enough.
The main thing I’d like to see that hasn’t been encompassed yet with the updated STR ordinance is a cap of no more than 10%, combined with some level of density. (Must be 300-foot distance between STRs within a given area).
If you are a full-timer who has been affected by STRs over the last few years, even if that has temporarily died down due to the inevitable cyclical nature of real estate and the current economic condition, please come out and share your experience and/or desires going forward for our town. Please show up and ask your supervisors for a cap of 10% and some sort of density limitation, The serenity and history of our enchanted town is on the line.
I do not advocate shutting down existing registered STRs in good standing and abiding by the newest STR ordinance, but until the actual number of total homes being utilized as businesses in our residentially zoned neighborhoods drops below 10%, it is imperative that the county continues the existing moratorium and does not hand out any more permits.
Lastly, and again, my hope is that we can all be civil at the meeting.