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  • Alternative rentals, or "Alts", refer to travel trailers, yurts, domes, recreational cabins, recreational vehicles, A-frame tents and more that are rented out to visitors for overnight stays.

  • The Alts we’re advocating for are small, locally owned,host occupied, and well-managed.

  • Some people consider big commercial glamping operations such as Autocamp and the proposed Flamingo 640 project Alt rentals.  This is not correct and we are in no way advocating for them.  You can support small, locally owned Alts, while being against these big commercial projects.

  • Alt rentals are not new and have been in this area for as long as there have been Short Term Rentals. Alts are a big part of what makes visiting this area special.

  • For as long as there have been Short Term Rentals in this area, there have also been Alt rentals.  From the beginning permits were not available for either type of rental.  Alt rental hosts have been asking the County for an appropriate permitting process for years and when the STR ordinance went into place, the county said that a separate ordinance would be written for Alt rentals.  Many local residents have invested time and money based on this information. 

  • Small, locally owned and hosted Alts address the concerns many residents have with STRs.  They are safe, sanitary and quiet.

What’s going on?

  • In February 2022, the County introduced a Special Use Permit (SUP) for Alts with very specific criteria. In order to get a SUP the Alt had to be on 5+ acres, be owner-occupied, have proper sanitation, a plan for trash and designated parking.  A code enforcement inspection was required.  At this time, the County reiterated their commitment in writing to amend the development code to better define and manage Alts.

  • In March 2022, the SUP program for “Alts” was put on hold without any warning or explanation. Fewer than 5 residents were able to secure a one-year permit. The future of this permit is in question.

  • In late April 2022, in an opinion piece in the Desert Star, Supervisor Dawn Rowe announced a No tolerance policy and asked neighbors to report on their neighbors. 

What are the current permitting options?

  • Special use permit (SUP): The SUP that was released in February was a promising start, but the program was put “on hold” only a few weeks after it was introduced. Only 3 or 4 people were able to obtain these during that time. Furthermore, these permits are only valid for one year. There hasn’t been any communication from the County about the future of this permit.

    The county says there’s a path forward through the CUP but tens of thousands of dollars is not viable for small local hosts.

  • Conditional use permit (CUP): The CUP process requires a non-refundable application fee of more than $14,000 just to get started, in addition to other costs for environmental studies, cultural studies, potential drainage studies, multiple public hearings, CEQA requirements, and more. The typical approval process takes at least nine months and costs $35,000 and more.

What we’re proposing:

  • We share one goal: create a reasonable permitting pathway and clear rules to better manage overnight stays in Alt rentals.

  • We are asking the County to support local residents by reopening the SUP program for locally owned alt rentals. 

  • We welcome community input and seek community meetings to discuss how Alts fit into the community.

Want to show your support? 
Click here to send a comment to the County.

Image by Wei Zeng

What are Alts?

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