At the May public meetings in Big Sur and Carmel Highlands on the subject of short-term rentals, a middle ground was nowhere to be found: attendees either favored STR's with a cheap an easy registration process, or were vociferously against them, saying they would destroy neighborhoods.
A recent countywide poll by an outside consulting group suggests opposition to STR's is far less widespread than those meetings might lead one to believe: 68 percent of those polled were in favor of legal, regulated STR's while 23 percent were against them. Nine percent of residents polled said they were unsure.
The poll was conducted by Littlefield Consulting, a firm hired by the Monterey County Vacation Rental Coalition. MCVRC President Susan Bradley sent the results to the Weekly on Sept. 19.
The poll's sample size varied widely from the first question to the tenth and final question (866 and 446 voters, respectively), and also skewed female (63 percent) and older (60 percent of respondents were over 65 years old).
Still, the insights are instructive: 42 percent of those polled indicated that the County Board of Supervisors were on the wrong track, with 33 percent on the right track. 22 percent were unsure.
Most of the questions were strictly on the subject of short-term rentals, and for the most part, were straightforward. However, the poll did lead into the line of questioning with a very strategically placed nugget of information.
"Traditional short-term rentals are furnished homes that are rented for a few days up to 30 days to visitors to Monterey County. Short-term rentals provide more than $150 million dollars in economic impact to Monterey County. Do you think short-term rentals and the visitors they serve are important to Monterey County’s economy?"
73 percent said yes, 19 percent no and 8 percent unsure.
Surprisingly, given the 68 percent support rate in the poll, only 24 percent of those polled had ever rented our their home for less than 30 days or knew someone else who had.
The county's current draft STR ordinance released in March has been much-maligned by STR supporters. Primary among the complaints is limiting rental permits to one unit per 15 acres and only allowing a maximum of seven days of rental per month.