Short-Term Rental Opponents Ramping Up Pressure On Anaheim Council

Residents protesting short term rentals, which have fed off a tourist economy and home sharing sites like Airbnb, march in front of Anaheim City Hall.

As the Anaheim City Council continues to grapple with the explosion of short-term rentals in the neighborhoods surrounding Disneyland, advocates for a ban on the businesses are ramping up pressure.

On Tuesday, before the council’s regular meeting, more than 70 protesters marched in a circle in front of City Hall and loudly called for a strict ban on the rentals, which have proliferated thanks to websites like Airbnb and VBRO.

Protesters donned “Ban STRs” t-shirts and held signs reading “Neighborhoods not Strangerhoods” and “Feel the Ban—” a reference to the popular “Feel the Bern” campaign slogan popularized by supporters of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

According to city records, there are about 400 short-term rentals in Anaheim, though some residents believe the number is closer to 600. The biggest concentration is in the neighborhoods around the Disneyland Resort and the convention center. Sherwood Village, a neighborhood of town homes in the area, has become an especially contentious battleground over the issue.

“We have three houses within five houses of mine that are short term rentals, it changes the tone of the neighborhood,” said resident Lynn Cudd. “I wouldn’t say that people who own these things are bad people. But this is a residential neighborhood – it’s not a business or resort.”

Meanwhile, those who support the short-term rentals argue the industry has helped improve property values and the tourist economy. They say the impacts on neighborhoods are exaggerated, and many renters are families vacationing at Disneyland and business professionals attending conventions.

“We are not a nuisance or detriment to public safety,” said Frances Noteboom, who operates a short-term-rental home. “My fellow STR owners…have generated more than $3.2 million for this city.”

Mayor Tom Tait proposed a full ban on future rentals in February, which is set to be considered by the council in June, along with a staff ordinance that would create stricter rules for short-term rental operators.

A handful of the protesters spoke during the public comment portion of Tuesday’s meeting, but no council member addressed the issue.

Contact Thy Vo at tvo@voiceofoc.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.