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Petition Could Reopen Palm Springs Vacation Rental Ordinance to Voters

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Palm Springs, CA -

A petition to modify the city of Palm Springs' vacation rental ordinance has gained enough signatures to put the group's measure before the City Council, and possibly Palm Springs voters.

The petition submitted by Palm Springs Neighbors for Neighborhoods (PSN4N) ensures that council members will have to either modify the existing rental ordinance to meet the requirements of the group's petition, have city staff conduct an impact study, or set a date for a special election, putting the group's measure on a future ballot. The group was notified Wednesday that its petition had reached the requisite number of signatures and the City Council is expected to address the issue at its Jan. 24 meeting.

Story: Neighborhood Group Looks To Force A Vote On Vacation Rentals

PSN4N opposes the booming growth of vacation rental properties in the city, which has been the source of a heated debate among residents, some of whom say that further restrictions to short term rental owners could hurt a city that relies on tourism.

An ordinance approved by the city council in March solidified restrictions on new rental properties, including limiting the owners to 32 contracts per year, limiting guest occupancy to two people per bedroom, and levying increased fines to owners for ordinance violations.

Story: Palm Springs Updates Residents On Vacation Rental Ordinance

PSN4N seeks to further modify the ordinance by limiting owners from renting out homes in residential-zoned neighborhoods for less than 28 days and give short-term rental owners two years to adjust their business model or relocate their properties to mixed-use or commercial zones. PSN4N said the measure would not affect condos or homeowners associations, which already set their own regulations in regards to short-term rentals.

"We are so pleased that this issue will finally give Palm Springs residents the chance to decide for themselves what their neighborhoods will look like," PSN4N spokesperson Stephen Rose said.

Story: Palm Springs Homeowner Fined Thousands For Unregistered Home On Airbnb

A citizen's petition to adjust the city's vacation rental ordinance was also submitted by a vacation rental owners group about a year ago. Short- term rental owners organized as Citizens for a Better Palm Springs and collected nearly 3,000 signatures for a referendum that would have put the city's original 2016 ordinance before Palm Springs voters, until the city decided to repeal it and create the revised ordinance passed in March.

Neighborhood group Protect Our Neighborhoods, which opposes the short- term rental boom, filed a writ that was denied by a judge earlier this year, demanding that the city be barred from issuing any new vacation rental certificates to prospective short-term rental owners.

Story: Palm Springs City Council Adopts Revised Vacation Rental Ordinance

The group also filed a writ last week against the city, the City Council and the eight property owners, stating in court documents that the city did not perform environmental reviews before issuing the certificates in September.

Both writs alleged that the city was violating its own municipal code and CEQA.   

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