Pacific Grove residents to collect signatures to ban short-term rentals

Pacific Grove residents to collect...

PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. - The heated debate over short-term rentals continue in one of the few Peninsula cities that allows for them.

Some people in Pacific Grove are trying to get an initiative on the November ballot to stop their neighbors from renting out properties for less than a month.

“We think there’s enough anger,” said petition supporter Thom Akeman.

Some neighbors said the city has turned its back on them by being one of the only places on the Monterey Peninsula to allow STRs.

But Airbnb hosts said bring on the petition.

“We actually really welcome it because we think the voters will wholeheartedly put this to rest,” rental host Joy Colangelo said.

The proposed ballot is called the “Initiative to Preserve and Protect Pacific Grove’s Residential Character.” To do so requires the city to phase out it’s short-term rental permits outside of the Coastal Zone. Those are areas generally between the ocean and David Ave, Ocean View Blvd and Asilomar Ave.  

Before people can vote, proponents of this petition need to gather close to 1,000 signatures. Koji Stewart said he’s ready to support it.

“I think it should be left to the citizens as a vote and it should be the majority of the votes should win. And if I was on the wrong side, then I would accept that” Stewart said.

But property manager Jan Leasure said this is challenging people’s property rights.

“Even the people who don’t currently rent their homes may some day want to be able to rent them, and so I think people don’t like to give up rights they might want to exercise in the future,” Leasure said.

The City of Pacific Grove , which collected $1 million dollars in transient occupancy taxes, said it stands to lose money if this initiative passes.

“Simply reducing the number of of short-term rentals would impact that number,“ City Manager Ben Harvey said.

Supporters of the petition are hosting a kick off party Jan. 20 at Jewell Park to get the word out and gather signatures.

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