Letter: Short term rentals can be good when managed correctly
To the editor,
–Short Term Rentals are good for the local community when managed correctly. Check with the police department. Problems are few. Most result from the few non-local owners who do not have a local person to check on things. Some regulation is necessary to ensure not only the integrity of our neighborhoods, but the safety of the occupants as well.
Currently, many opinions have been expressed about the need to regulate short term rentals within the R1 zone to protect the integrity of single family neighborhoods. These revolve around noise, parking. number of occupants, how to be a good neighbor, etc. I would submit these concerns are not exclusive only to short term rentals. The integrity of a residential neighborhood extends well beyond noise, parking and occupants. It also includes pride of ownership and making a contribution towards the community, and being a good neighbor.
I live in a single family R1 zone. In the houses that surround us, there are homeowners, long term tenants and short term rentals. Many of the homeowners and long term tenants have multiple vehicles, gatherings and people (family/friend/business associates?) who stop by. Some even spending the night. Long term tenants do not have pride of ownership. Most will not maintain the yard The city is doing nothing to protect the integrity and values of my neighborhood when it comes to these residential occupants.
Short term rental property owners on the other hand maintain their properties. Most at higher standards than my homeowner neighbors. Certainly, much higher than the long term tenants (who have no vested interest in what their property looks like). This increased pride of ownership results in higher residential integrity and a better neighborhood experience for everyone who lives in it.
Short term rentals employ many local people (landscapers, housekeepers, maintenance people etc. Tenants of short term rentals also leave a lot of their disposal income in our local community at restaurants, stores, etc during their stay. This in turn supports more local families. Profit generated to the local owner of short term rental properties also goes back into our local economy. This is opposed to the profits generated from room stays, dinners and cocktails sold at the hotels which only benefits the community where their corporate owners live.
STRs generate over ½ million a year of additional revenue into our city general fund. This money is applied directly to street repairs, fire & police services. Keep in mind, if short term rentals were to be taken out of the market and converted into long term rentals or second homes, the need for city services would remain the same, and there would be less people paying for them. The result? Cut back city services or raise taxes.
My suggestion? Create standards that everyone can live by. If we create a good neighbor brochure. Send it to every household within the city. Single out short term rentals only to the extent to let their tenants know the standards that all of residents of our community expect to live by (parking, noise, occupancy, etc) as well as explain things to insure their health and safety while staying at the individual properties.