The Agua Caliente Band of Cahulla Indians is headquartered in Palm Springs, California. Photo: Dave Whelan
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Agua Caliente Band opposes proposal to ban short term rentals

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is opposing a proposal to ban short-term rentals in Palm Springs, a popular vacation and tourist destination in southern California.

According to news reports, the tribe believes the ban would hinder the ability of its citizens to use their own lands. Much of the tribe's reservation lies with Palm Springs city limits.

“The tribe is concerned that this ban is an onerous and unnecessary restriction on the use of allotted trust land that will further restrict allottees from achieving ‘highest and best use’ of their trust land,” Tom Davis, the tribe's chief planning and development office, wrote in a letter to the city, The Palm Springs Desert Sun reported.

The ban, which applies to homes in "residential" neighborhoods, is on the June 5 ballot. The language of Measure C does not mention at all whether it applies to Indian allotments.

But it would have a major impact on tribal citizens. The city has counted about 770 vacation properties on Indian allotments, representing about a third of all short-term rentals, KESQ reported.

The proposal came about as a way to address the rise of sites like Airbnb, in which homeowners rent out their properties on a short-term basis. Critics contend these sites contribute to the lack of affordable housing in Palm Springs.

Airbnb boasts over 2,400 homes and more than 55,000 reviews, or stays, at properties in Palm Springs. The site does not appear to indicate whether a particular home is on an Indian allotment.

Generally, the city lacks jurisdiction in Indian Country. So even if Measure C becomes law, the tribe and its citizens might be able to ignore it.

Though the tribe hasn't said what it will do about Measure C, a group called Palm Springs Neighbors for Neighborhoods, which supports the ban, said officials in Palm Springs have mischaracterized the tribe's stance. The group is calling on the tribe and the city to "work out a mutually beneficial arrangement" to address enforcement issues, KESQ reported.

Read More on the Story:
If Palm Springs votes to ban vacation rentals, the Aguas could choose to ignore that (The Palm Springs Desert Sun March 8, 2018)
Tribe against Palm Springs short-term rentals ban (KESQ March 8, 2018)
PSN4N: City Council "should not speak" for tribe about rentals (KESQ March 13, 2018)

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