Instructions and Sample Letter for Business Owners (Retail and Otherwise):


In the late 1800s, what is now Idyllwild was home to a wide-scale timber operation. One entrepreneurial businessman named George Hannahs supplemented his income by building campgrounds and lodging facilities for short-term guests who wanted to escape to the mountains. By the turn of the century, loose clusters of such short-term rentals were grouped together, and the area was officially designated “Idyllwild.” It was precisely such tourists who lobbied Congress and led to President Grover Cleveland establishing a forest reserve to save the area from destruction from the logging industry. In short, Idyllwild as we know it was built on tourism and fueled by short-term renters. It might look much different today, but the tradition of extending hospitality to visitors is woven into the very fabric of our community.

Unfortunately, a small but vocal group is now spreading misinformation about short term vacation rentals and making claims about their impact on our area that are not backed up by data. This group is seeking a moratorium on Short Term Rentals (STRS), and some who are supportive of the group’s efforts have called for the elimination of STRS altogether. Many of them seem to be unaware that, only a few short years ago, Idyllwild restaurants and businesses were struggling to survive. Many of those businesses closed, but today we are benefitting from a robust local economy, thanks in large part to homeowners who make their properties available on Airbnb, VRBO, and similar services.

While we believe in strict enforcement against noise and parking violations, proposed revisions to the Riverside County Ordinance 927 (which regulates STRS) do nothing to address the actual concerns of our community. Instead, some of these restrictions place undue burdens on property owners, many of whom are Idyllwild part-timers who rent out their homes (when not occupying them) to help pay their mortgages. Should the ordinance go into effect as written it will likely have a real and measurable impact on Idyllwild’s business community—from shops and eateries, to local contractors, house cleaners, and other service providers.  Additionally, we are likely to see an increase in foreclosures and decrease in property values.  A large majority of homeowners who have purchased in Idyllwild in the last 5 years could afford such a purchase only because they were able to cover their expenses by renting their homes on a short-term basis.  

You can review the entire document at:

As someone whose business could be affected, we hope you’ll take a moment to make your voice heard by emailing our County representatives at [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected]. Please feel free to personalize our sample letter to reflect your own concerns and the specifics of your situation. Time is of the essence, as these provisions are up for review very soon. Don’t delay. Let our representatives hear from you today!


Dear Steven,

As a small business owner in Idyllwild I have serious concerns about some of the proposed revisions to Draft Ordinance 927.1. Some of those revisions—including increased fees for homeowners, and the requirement to implement unattractive signs that will both impact the beauty of our community and attract potential burglars to homes that are sometimes unoccupied—are problematic.

I have seen substantial economic benefit in our community as a result of short-term rentals, and I fear that 927.1 is taking the wrong approach. Instead of addressing much-needed enforcement for noise violations and public nuisance complaints, it places undue burdens on owners.

Our community has suffered from a lack of tourism in the past, but we are now thriving. Tourists pay occupancy taxes that can help fund proper enforcement of county ordinances, Further, they spend their money in our community, which generates sales tax revenue for the County which, in turn, helps further improve our area. Let’s not risk jeopardizing the positive community and economic growth we’ve been experiencing by negatively impacting owners. Instead, let’s designate a County official who can focus on enforcement, funded by the collection of the Transient Occupancy Tax.

Idyllwild wants both tourists and enforcement of the rules that are already in place. What we don’t want is to discourage STR owners from remaining in business and remaining in compliance. The health of our community depends on it.   

Thank you,