Community feedback sought about short-term rentals

Jul 20, 2023 | County

By Mike Harris – Special to the Alpine Mountaineer

The impact of short-term rentals on the housing stock in mountain communities will be investigated by San Bernardino County, with two public meetings planned in early August: one in Crestline and the other in Lake Arrowhead.

“Land Use Services will be holding public engagement meetings with the public in late summer or early fall to gain local knowledge and input on the effects of short-term rentals on the housing stock,” County CEO Leonard Hernandez announced at the start of the board of supervisors meeting on July 11.

The first public meeting, he announced, will be Aug. 1 at 6:30 p.m. at the San Moritz Lodge; the second informational gathering meeting will be Aug. 3 at County Fire Station 91 in Lake Arrowhead.

Working with Land Use Services on the study will be a team from Granicus, an international consulting company that has experience in studying short-term vacation rentals and their impact on local and state governments and communities.

The meetings announced by Hernandez will be held by the county and will not be part of the Municipal Advisory Council meetings.

Tricia Dufour, who owns Pine Rose Cabins in Twin Peaks, told the Alpine Mountaineer that short-term rentals are having a very serious impact on mountain communities. It is so serious an issue that it is impacting her employees, she added.

“Our employees have a hard time finding housing,” she said. “These (short-term vacation rentals) are supposed to be mom and pop operations, someone renting their cabin once in a while.”

She also believes short-term vacation rentals should be in a commercial area, and not along narrow mountain roads.

“If two cars can’t drive by each other, you shouldn’t allow them,” she added.

The Granicus website notes short-term vacation rentals result in a mix of positive and negative impacts. “Unfortunately, an unregulated or unenforced STR market in communities can bring more negatives than positives.

“Short-term vacation rentals need to be treated like the businesses and lodging they are. Local and state governments’ roles should minimize STRs’ negative impacts while maximizing their benefits,” Granicus states. “Governments also have a responsibility to create an even playing field between traditional lodging providers and STRs through fair permitting and licensing regulations and through the fair application of tax law. Unfortunately, governments face challenges in enforcing these regulations.”

 

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