Letter to the Editor: published Sept. 9, 2023

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Review of short term rentals in Avalon

As a property owner at 357 Descanso, and a part time resident I would like to comment on the current STR issue under review. Our property has been in the Paulson/Gaines family since 1936. Both long term and short term rentals have been utilized here for many years. Many tenants both long term and short term have benefited with this rental practice. Given the expenses required to support this property, and the need for housing in the city, this management program seems most appropriate. For some years we have contracted with Catalina Vacation Rentals to manage this unit. They have done an admirable job screening, cleaning, and supervising this unit.

There has been a history of seeking a balance in providing housing between short term and long term rentals as well as obtaining permanent housing in a city of 3,500 residents and housing tourists. To address this issue today there needs to be a defined base scoping study to start learning about accurate data that defines the distribution of housing units and the uses within the units. Also employment needs to service the local economy need to be identified. Demographic makeup of the array of residents and owners who live in the city as opposed to part time and absent owners needs to be profiled where feasible.

Given that the Santa Catalina Island Company is a major property owner as well as an employer they need to be a key stakeholder with the city government and the local business community along with full time and part time residents in addressing the STR issue. In other words a defined task force made up with these stakeholders seems feasible.

Defining mitigation options would be part of a strategic plan developed by such a task force. Limits on STR licenses and development of workforce housing could be studied, recognizing the overall quality of life and the local economy is at stake in developing recommendations. Given the STR issue in popular tourist areas is a on-going topic, the local community task force should review similar areas such as mainland beach and desert locations faced with the balanced housing issue.

Just some thoughts to consider in the current study.

Jerry Gaines