I can almost bet that none of the county supervisors live next to or near a short-term rental property, by some of the assumptions they have made in formulating their short-term rental ordinance.
The first clue is their defining the size of a house and the amount of people in the house as a determinate of the likelihood of it being a magnet for parties.
As a long-term desert resident now slowly being surrounded by short-term rentals and speculation houses being built for said purposes, I can assure you that a small house with only six partying people, with enough alcohol, can create enough noise and trouble to equal the 20 limit mentioned. When you add endless electronic music to the mix, you get the picture.
The second clue was their assumption that large properties could absorb more people, assuming that distance would reduce complaints, I guess.
The reality is that if you drive around rural Joshua Tree or view Google Maps satellite pictures of the area, you will note houses seem to be in clusters. That is because not all roads have power lines. So on my street of larger lots, yes we could park a hundred cars, but because when these houses were built in the late ’60s, ’70s and ’80s and now, the actual houses are positioned quite close together to take advantage of nearby utilities. From my garage, I can almost read the license numbers of the cars on my neighbor’s driveway.
Since I have witnessed the evolution of the short-term rental business from the beginning to the present, I would also note that the motive and behavior of the clients of these properties has changed. It used to be that they were staying to be close to the park. They would arrive late Friday night from LA, sleep in late Saturday morning, take off for a hike in the park, return late afternoon for a show and a nap and then head out for dinner in Joshua Tree. No problems.
Now they come with vehicles loaded with enough booze and food to last their entire visit. They are so well stocked, they don’t even have to make the classical emergency beer run. Even I am impressed by their organizational skills! But seriously, these people are here to party. Shortly after their arrival, they are not interested or aware of the great views or the peaceful, quiet, special environment they have entered.
One of the regulations the supervisors included was the requirement that all vehicles license plate numbers be listed at check-in. What if four more cars show up?
These and many more questions must be answered. Without some kind of on-the-ground supervision, 24-hour manned complaint call center, etc., I predict continuing problems.
Joshua Tree is a very special place, and I’m not sure having a reputation as a destination party magnet is something our community wants for the future.