Last month the Mammoth Lakes Women’s Club held their annual holiday auction at Rafters and it was a huge success with a little more than $4,000 raised, which will be redirected back into the community. The Club truly appreciates the community’s support, along with the invaluable help of the event’s sponsors and donors: The Demetriades Family, Sierra Nevada Lodge, Nancy’s Fancy’s, Convict Lake Restaurant, Nevado’s, White Bark, Giovanni’s, Roberto’s, zpizza, Stellar Brew, Starbucks, Mountain Living, Footloose Sports, Sierra Star, Booky Joint, Donna’s Creative Corner, TailWaggers, Gary Sill/Rick’s Pawn Shop, Danetha Doe, Debbie Boucher, Val White, Stacey Powells and Robin Morning.
The Club wishes to thank everyone who participated in this “fun”draising event.
Mammoth Lakes Women’s Club
Leave the SFR zone, alone
I have read with some concern the [Sept. 16] letter from Evie Werthmann suggesting that if the Town changed the zoning law with respect to allowing short term rentals in single family residence (SFR) zoned areas (i.e. nightly
rentals) everyone wins. Obviously, she does not live in a single family area or has not had any experience with unlawful rental of single family homes. In my opinion as a full time resident in a single family zoned area, I believe the Town should not change the law and it should be enforced vigorously to prevent such nightly rentals.
First, there are plenty of other areas and units for nightly rental as currently zoned and, thus, there is no need to allow further nightly rental in the SFR zone. To do so, simply hurts alreadysuffering legitimate lodging facilities (whether hotels or condominiums) that are paying the TOT’s timely and properly.
Second, many of the full time (as well as part time) residents purchased specifically in the SFR zone so as to avoid the noise, disruption and general unwanted activity associated with nightly rentals. To now change the game on such owners simply to assist other owners that may want nightly rentals is unfair. The current owners that may want nightly rentals bought into the SFR zoned areas knowing (or they should have known) that nightly rentals were prohibited. As a result, they should have had no reasonable expectation that they would be able to rent nightly and, thus, they can hardly complain now that they are not allowed to do something they fully well knew they could not do. The suggested change in the zoning is not fair to the owners that purchased assuming they were protected against nightly rentals by the current zoning .
Third, allowing nightly rentals (as I have personally experienced based upon the illegal nightly rental of the property next door to me) is disruptive, noisy and substantially different than rental to a family or others that will be the same for at least 30 days (i.e. the revolving door of guests as noted in Ms. Werthmann’s letter). Someone who rents for 30 days or longer will be a party that is more than likely a family and even if they only intend to use on weekends during the 30 days, they will be a smaller and more cohesive group. Nightly renters (for a few days or more) tend to be more of a party set, younger people that are only out for a fun and wild weekend (at one point we had 12 different young people renting the house next door). Further, on a nightly rental basis, there is substantially more activity since there are different cars every few days, many people continually driving around looking for the house, coming in at all times during the night, etc.
Fourth, even if the zoning is changed many single family developments have CC&R’s which prohibit nightly rentals (either because they are less than 30 days or because such activity constitutes a business which is a prohibited use in the SFR zone) and, thus, the zoning change would have no effect on those areas.
Finally, if the intent is to allow such rentals so as to obtain more TOT’s for the Town, I doubt it will work. The people that currently rent nightly obviously have no respect for the law (since they know they are renting illegally) and as a result, it is unlikely that they will adhere to the law and pay their required TOT’s when they know enforcement is almost impossible. This is borne out, I am sure, by the failure of many condominium owners to pay TOT’s even though they are allowed to rent nightly (i.e. the enforcement problem the Town already has). Thus, all that will happen by changing the zoning is that the lives of the current full and part time Town residents in the SFR area will suffer and their quality of life will go down with no benefit to anyone other than those who knew they were buying in an area where they were not allowed to engage in nightly rentals.
I have yet to hear any reason why the zoning change should be made other than possible collection of more money by the Town. Such a reason is hardly legitimate when it will drastically affect the lives of Town residents and more than likely bring little benefit to the Town. Why make a difficult collection and enforcement problem worse? To make the change for the owners of the houses who want to engage in nightly rentals (“nightly rental homeowners”) is, as noted earlier, totally inappropriate since the Town would be putting their “needs” over those of the other owners in the SFR when the nightly rental homeowners knew when they were buying the houses they were not allowed to rent nightly. The downturn in the economy, while perhaps making it more difficult for these homeowners to be able to pay their mortgages on their homes, again is no reason to put their interests over the other homeowners that do not want nightly rentals. This is especially true since it would mean that the Town is putting the interests of non-resident/part-time residents over that of full time Town citizens (i.e. the change will not benefit full time residents since they will continue to live in their houses and not rent them out and if they are in trouble, they will move out and more than likely rent for a longer term to assure cash flow).
Thus, Ms. Werthmann gave no consideration to people that might be living next to and have to suffer with nightly rentals when that is not what they bargained for when they purchased their home. It is not simply a matter of money. It is a quality of life issue. As a result, I believe that the Town should not even consider changing the zoning to allow nightly rentals in the SFR zone area. To do so, benefits a few while damaging many and simply provides more competition to the already suffering lodging industry.
Gregg P. Martino