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Staying in Rancho Mirage? Better have a 30-year-old with you

Gavdana/Flickr/Creative Commons

Rancho Mirage, California

Oh hey, keep it down over there, wouldja?!?!

That's the rallying cry around a new ordinance passed last week by the city of Rancho Mirage, near Palm Springs. It requires that all vacation rentals have at least one person staying there who is at least 30 years old.

"There is no magic at that number," says city councilman Dana Hobart. "Twenty-one was the prior number and that didn't work, so we picked another number."

Hobart says that year-round residents have been steadily complaining about more incidents involving young people in vacation homes.

One neighbor told him the home next door was blaring loud music up until 3 a.m. during the past weekend, while another complained that visitors of the house behind them were climbing on top of the roof to jump into the pool.

"It's this type of conduct, this lack of concern for the rights of people next door, that we as members of the council are determined to address," says Hobart.

The idea of the new ordinance is that those noisy kids may be a little more respectful with an adult around.

It will be policed through complaints from residents, and fines could range up to $500 per incident.

While the desert cities southeast of LA are, of course, a hot destination for events like Coachella, the Palm Springs International Film Festival and the White Party, the prospect of losing the business of those attendees isn't a major concern for Rancho Mirage, says Hobart.

"We've got 95 percent of the residents who'd like to see us ban [vacation rentals] entirely," he says. "The amount of income that the city derives from short-term rentals is not enough to motivate us to encourage these rentals. So if it does deter some, so be it."

Some critics of the new ordinance say it could violate the state's civil rights law, which prevents discrimination for factors like age.

"We're not outlawing from anybody from being in attendance," argues Hobart, "We don't see it as discriminatory at all. Our option is, if we can't make this work, is to ban them altogether."


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