– Press release
On February 2, long-time Mammoth Lakes residents, Kathy Cage, Michael Agnitch, and Tom Gaunt filed a ballot initiative regarding nightly home rentals in residential neighborhoods.
A “Yes” vote on this initiative will require the Town Council to seek voter approval before changing the laws regarding transient rentals of homes in residential zones (RSF, RR and RMF-1 zones).
Last August, only two months after taking office, the newest Town Council reignited this debate by putting nightly rentals on their short-term list of priorities. Former Mayor and Town Councilmember Kathy Cage says once she saw that there were three votes on the Council to change the current zoning protection she decided it was time to take action.
“We’re tired of wasting our time with the Town Council on this issue.” says Cage. “If this Council doesn’t do it the next one will. We want the people of Mammoth to be able to weigh in on this issue directly rather than relying on elected officials to do it for us. A ‘yes’ vote on this measure will ensure that the Town Council must seek voter approval if they want to expand nightly home rentals into our residential neighborhoods.
“We’ve been debating this issue for over 10 years. I don’t believe the current Council majority who want to allow the commercialization of our residential neighborhoods reflects the values of our community.”
Cage added, “Quality of life for locals does matter. When neighborhoods are opened to nightly rentals, locals get pushed out as the cost of rentals rises and availability drops. We think quality of life for residents trumps the financial interest of property investors.”
Retired Mammoth Lakes High School Principal Michael Agnitch notes, “Mammoth actually has an excellent General Plan and Zoning Map which allows nightly home rentals in several zones. There are currently over 180 homes that are legally zoned for nightly rentals, dozens more under construction and hundreds of large luxury townhomes for our guests to rent. Any missing home rental product should be developed in the zones where it is permitted.”
Cerro Coso College Adjunct Professor Tom Gaunt points out that “My family and I have lived in Mammoth for over 30 years. We raised our children here, it is our home and our community. We know our neighbors and they know us. We’ve seen transient activity in both the legal and illegal home rentals nearby, and there is a fundamental incompatibility between transient renters and residents. By having separate zones, Mammoth currently allows for a wonderful quality of life for residents and a great guest experience for our visitors. Why in the world would we abandon that?”