PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. - A lengthy debate on short-term rentals continues for Pacific Grove. The last year has seen a push back against the practice - a cap of 250 licenses in the city and no more than 15 percent of homes on any block. Then, a lottery to reach that new figure, leading to roughly 50 licenses not being renewed. And now, a measure to greatly restrict STRs received enough signatures to make the November ballot.
Thom Akeman lives just off Lighthouse and says his block has been packed with STRs. Thom tells KION he has seen a change in his neighborhood he doesn't like, with long-time residents he says being forced to leave to make sure for an influx of short-term renters.
"80 percent of the short term rentals in Pacific Grove are owned by people who do not live in Pacific Grove," he said.
Akeman also says parking has become a major issue, with the visitors sometimes bringing multiple cars and parking in neighbors' driveways. He adds some of these renters have been rude or invasive.
"There's no advance notice these things are coming. You get your license from the city. You open your little motel. The neighbors are told afterwards," Akeman said.
This year's lottery meant less income for Alka Joshi. She manages one of the properties which lost its license. This was a blow to her revenue, similar to that of the owners of the roughly 50 other stripped licenses. People, she says, could be priced out of their homes.
"They use this income as a way to stay in PG, which is a very expensive place to stay," Joshi said. "That is going to be a hardship on them."
Joshi also says to think about the money. Pacific Grove has a large tourist economy. Many of the visitors stay in these residential homes.
"What are they going to do to replace the 1.7 to 1.8 million dollars that the STRs are currently giving to the city's budget to pay for essential city services," she said.
So what is at stake in November? If the measure passes, it would prohibit short term rentals outside the coastal zone. It would still allow home-sharing, but that is a much less used option. Joshi says this measure could cut down short-term rentals by about 75 percent.