Instead of criticizing City Councilmember Jeff Heller's solitary stance against Morro Bay's policy on vacation rentals by owners (VRBO's), I applaud him for taking a stand against an industry that can come into our town and change residential areas into tourist-serving zones ("Neighborhood character," Nov. 5).
I moved here in 1979, and I rented from people who had purchased homes here for retirement. Renting from roughly six different people at reasonable rents, I did this for about 20 years. Many of my friends did the same thing. Although not all out-of-town property owners do this, the fact is these second homes have provided a very important part of the workforce housing market. These places allow renters to live here full time and participate in our community.
Rather than protecting this important segment of our population, the city's VRBO policy jeopardizes their available housing. Plus it circumvents existing zoning, allowing residential zones to be used for commercial purposes.
Our elected officials have allowed spec houses to be built on commercial land on Main Street in North Morro Bay—and that was suitable for tourist purposes. A bad decision. Any vacation rentals should be kept within the commercial districts of Morro Bay or maybe limited to a two-block radius of downtown.
Like many others, I wrote a letter opposing the council majority's vacation rental plan. Again, I thank Mr. Heller for being the only one to watch out for the residents of Morro Bay. I appreciate that he's not just a rubber stamp on issues like this VRBO policy and the new wastewater treatment plant. He not only looks at short-term financial gains but at what really benefits our town in the long term.