Short term rental discussion

edited February 2016 in General

Dear Salida Citizens,

As owner/manager of a vacation rental business I do have a bias in the discussion about short term rentals. My strongest bias, however, is keeping Salida a community with socioeconomic diversity and real neighborhoods. This has been my home since ’99 and these are reasons I live here.

Second home ownership in Salida is widespread and growing. This is not the result of good marketing; it is population relocation from crowded cities and resort towns to smaller towns with open spaces and there is no sign of slowing. And look at us now; the second home market has created a boom in building, designing, selling, decorating, furnishing, painting, landscaping, roofing, caretaking, renting and otherwise accommodating these homes. Salidans are working, guests are spending money and sales and occupation taxes are flowing. So how do we balance the benefits with the impacts of this reality?

After eight years of vacation rental growth nationwide and limited housing starts in Salida until recently, we have a problem of supply and demand. This has caused housing prices to rise and those with the cash in hand get the available homes. Many are purchased as second homes. Some are empty much of the year, some are used as short-term rentals. Given the high prices, long term rentals rarely cash flow and their availability is dwindling. Some vacation rentals cash flow, many do not. Most second home buyers want to be here in their Salida homes when they can which makes vacation renting their favored option. The many guests to Salida who seek vacation homes spend lots of money here.

When considering the issue of limited affordable housing, short term rentals are easy to blame. However, the causes are much broader. Income disparity is real and increasing and limited supply puts home prices out of reach of many residents. Salida needs more homes. A conversation about the impact of second homes on our community has to include ways to increase housing stock and how we support builders in developing a variety of dwellings including apartments.

Salida also needs smart regulation of vacation rentals. The city has started identifying issues and brainstorming solutions. Without clear goals regulation can be arbitrary and punitive instead of effective. Short-term rentals must be considered area by area in order to capture optimum benefit to the community while minimizing undesired impact to housing and neighborhoods. Sensitive attention to local needs and local benefits make this subject worthy of thorough discussion.

Sincerely,

Lawton Eddy
Salida

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