During last Tuesday’s Inyo County Board of Supervisor’s meeting, the Board settled a dispute between Joann Lijek and Kim Moberly, both residents of McLaren Lane in Bishop.
According to the Inyo County Planning Department document, Kim Moberly, “proposed to operate a non-hosted short-term vacation rental at their residence, located at 324 McLaren Ln, in Bishop.”
Senior Planner of Inyo County Planning Department, Steven Karamitros explained how non-hosted rentals work: “The ordinance requires that to get the non-hosted, that you first have to have the hosted permit at the McLaren location. The non-hosted is adjacent on the same property, it’s just behind her main house. The contact and emergency information [are] required to be within 6ft. of the front door, so that the renters could access it.”
On February 5, 2019, Joann Lijek submitted an appeal to the Planning Commission stating that she does not believe Ms. Moberly met the requirements for the non-hosted permit.
Staff looked into the matter and informed Ms. Moberly that she was to stop renting until after the appeal process was completed.
During public comment on Tuesday, Lijek plead her case to the Inyo Supes. She said, “Not only does Ms. Moberly not live on the property, she does not stay there when she has renters.”
In a letter submitted to the Supes, Lijek listed 14 reasons why having a non-hosted rental is not a good idea. Here are some of those reasons, paraphrased:
a. Ms. Moberly was illegally renting her property short-term for at least the last 2 years.
b. Moberly deliberately failed to notify all the neighbors required when she did apply for the permit.
c. My problems with the rental are based on increased noise: loud music and voices, cars running, doors slamming, parking on her gravel parking pad that makes a tremendous amount of noise when driven on. I have vehicle lights shining into my home and property. Extra traffic on the road. I have young grandchildren living with me and not only are they at risk of being run over in the street, they could be at risk from criminal elements staying next door temporarily.
d. McLaren Lane is a private road.
e. Whether the Planning Department and the Commissioners choose to recognize it or not, stranger danger is a real concern. There is no way that Ms. Moberly or her internet rental company can screen tenants to stop drug addicts, child molesters, thieves, or other criminals from finding a place in our neighborhood.
f. People on vacation, while they might not be bad, have a different attitude and mindset; in other words, it’s party time, and constant party time does not fit in most residential neighborhoods.
g. Properties in the McLaren area are zoned to be at least 1 acre. Ms. Moberly’s property at 324 McLaren Lane is less than half an acre… So this property does not conform to current zoning code, nor did it conform to past code.
As if these arguments weren’t enough, Lijeck went on: “My feeling about these kinds of rentals and I’ve talked to a lot of people, including people from the city, Huntington Beach, and places where I have friends, other people on the street and people in town—the idea of having people in your house with you, they say yuck.”
Moberly’s attorney, Victoria L. Campbell, spoke at the meeting on behalf of her client. Campbell said that she has seen the rental and “The process has been followed to the letter and every requirement has been met. The Planning Commission has recommended that the permit be issued.” Campbell also said that Moberly has had some issues with her neighbor, Lijek, but “we don’t need to sink to the level of pointing fingers,” she said.
The requirement for the non-hosted rental requires that Ms. Moberly be present in the main house, and Campbell said, “She has every intention of doing that. She will be present in the main house, during the entire stay of her guests.”
Campbell also said that the first time Moberly rented her place out, “Ms. Lijek and her son came over and began verbally abusing Ms. Moberly in front of the renter, which I hope does not continue to happen … We will take legal recourse as necessary.”
At the end of Campbell’s statement to the Inyo Board of Supervisors, Campbell said, “At this juncture, we really hope that personal feelings could be set aside, and that neighbors could recognize that the process has been followed and that the requirements have been met.”
District 1 Supervisor, Dan Totheroh, asked, “Were there rentals before the permit was issued?”
Campbell responded, “My understanding, and I came into the process late, is that the County did not adopt a short-term rental requirement until maybe 2018.”
The board voted 7-0 to deny the appeal of Joann Lijek and the issue the non-hosted permit to Kim Moberly at her 324 McLaren Lane residence in Bishop.
In a later interview with The Sheet, Lijek said that she hopes to, “start a petition to get rid of non-hosted rentals in Inyo County, or change the code to be more workable.” Lijek said that she would roughly need to have 984 signatures.
Lastly, Lijek said, “It’s my civic right and civic duty to actually be involved in government. If I see something I don’t agree with, I have the right to protest it.”
The next Inyo County Board of Supervisor’s meeting is on March 19, 2019 at 10 a.m.