Letter: Neighbor concerns are valid
To the editor,
–Recent letters to this newspaper continue the worrying attempt by the ‘Save Paso Robles’ campaign to demonize residents who have understandable concerns about the proliferation of short term vacation rentals in residential zones. Zones with codes that explicitly exclude the operation of any business that serves transient guests. And tourists are by definition transients.
To pretend that a home bought and operated solely for the purpose of profiting from tourists is anything other than a tourism accommodation business is disingenuous and disrespectful to the overwhelming majority of home owners. Residents who expect to live in communities and build the sort of spirit that can only be nurtured with long term neighbors.
It is impossible to develop a meaningful and congenial relationship with a group of out of towners who change every weekend. Not only can neighbors not form long term empathy and mutual support, it makes it very difficult to address nuisance issues like noise, late night comings and going’s or parking.
Typical of misleading arguments put forward by Save Paso is reference to police complaints. We too own STVRs, all be it in areas zoned as mixed use. Neither we nor our neighbors would dream of bothering our local police with nuisance calls. The Police have far more important issues dealing with local crime, and no responsible home owner would call out the police to deal with a problem that long term neighbors would generally resolve among themselves.
There is also plenty of professional independent studies on the impact of STVRs on residential communities. These include increasing house and rental prices, making it difficult for local residents and workers to afford homes where they live and work. It’s why more and more cities are restricting the number and locations of these type of properties. That is exactly what Paso Robles City Council should be doing.
The fact remains that if people want to profit from tourism they should buy homes in areas that are specifically zoned as mixed use. There are plenty available.
To malign neighbors who simply want to develop cohesive neighborhoods with strong community spirit in a campaign to promote their own profit motives is almost the very definition of unneighborly behavior.
And to imply that the very survival of Paso Robles is at risk shows the dishonest and self-serving motives underlying this campaign.
At the very least these campaigners should stop insulting and disrespecting their neighbors. Neighbors who have very reasonable concerns. If they were truly concerned about Paso they would also respect its planning laws and operate their for profit vacation homes in mixed use zones.