The Twentynine Palms City Council heard from numerous residents during last night’s meeting on the topic of vacation home rentals, with the great majority in support of the city’s current ordinance. Reporter Heather Clisby was there…
Last night’s Twentynine Palms City Council meeting was a continuance of the discussion on the pros and cons of vacation home rentals (VHR) and if the current city ordinance is effective.
But first, Dr. James Danoff-Burg, director of conservation at The Living Desert, gave a presentation on the explosion of the raven population, how they are threatening our desert tortoises, and what locals can do to deter them.
The city’s Parks and Recreation Department is now distributing free PPE equipment to all local business owners. Interested parties can go to Help29.com to register and arrange for pick-up.
The council approved the purchase of two lots at $25,000 each to be used for Project Phoenix parking.
There was high praise for City Manager Frank Luckino as the council discussed his contract amendments. The position is not on an automatic scale and must be reviewed. While there were some notable increases (base salary – 2.5 percent, cost of living – 2.7 percent), Luckino did not request retroactive pay. Mayor Pro Tem Karmolette O’Gilvie commented, “I think we’re getting a whole lot more than we’re paying for.”
But the bulk of the two-hour meeting focused on the city’s vacation home rental ordinance, in place since February 2015. (Councilmember Joel Klink recused himself from the discussion as his son is considering becoming a VHR owner in the city.) The city has 114 VHRs with 16 permit applications pending.
Residents addressed the council in person and via numerous letters read aloud by Mayor Daniel Mintz and City Clerk Cindy Villescas, most in favor of the current policy, with some dissenters from the Indian Cove neighborhood. Councilmember McArthur Wright inquired about the notification letter that residents receive within a 300-foot radius around the property while Councilmember Steven Bilderain suggested the council might consider a policy that disallows “clusters” of VHRs in close proximity to one another. Mayor Mintz stated that the council will review the ordinance at a later date and, in the meantime, request an updated VHR map and stats on how the rise of VHRs have affected the local hotel/motel business.