Bob Lutz, San Clemente
I have lived in San Clemente for 45 years. For the past four years, I have rented my home during the summer as a short-term lodging unit (STLU) for a little extra income, as I am retired. Yesterday I received a letter from the city that says I won’t be able to do this anymore because my home is not in an approved zone. According to the city’s ordinances, your home must be near the downtown area, along El Camino Real or the Pier area to be approved for a short-term rental. However, there is an area on S. El Camino called “Surfers Row,” which is a residential area that was approved and can accommodate short-term rentals. Why the city designated that area for STLUs is still unknown.
The City Council said they were getting way too many complaints from neighbors close to these STLUs. From the meetings I went to, it seemed that the complaints were from people that just didn’t want the rentals in their neighborhood. NIMBY: Not in My Backyard.
As stated, I have rented my home to vacationers for the past four years without one complaint from neighbors. It seemed like the logical thing for the city to do was implement a two- or three-strike rule for complaints because a few homes are getting all of the complaints. Why punish the rest of us for the few? And why would the city want to do this as they tax the STLU owners about $700,000 a year in TOT revenue? Not to mention the millions of dollars that the vacationers spend in our city. Three-quarters of the STLUs are affected by this new law. It would seem like our city would benefit from this extra income in light of the fact that the Outlets haven’t brought in the sales-tax dollars the city expected.
I hear there is another lawsuit pending on this matter. Our city doesn’t need another lawsuit, so I do hope the city will come to its senses and do the right thing and rescind this new law.