STOP PACASO FROM COMMERCIALIZING OUR RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOODS!

STOP PACASO FROM COMMERCIALIZING OUR RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOODS!

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Connie Wilson started this petition to mderosa@cityofsthelena.org; gellsworth@cityofsthelena.org

This petition is to oppose the incursion of Pacaso’s fractional ownership vacation homes into the residential neighborhoods of St. Helena, CA.

Pacaso was founded in 2020 by Zillow co-founder and former CEO Spencer Rascoff and founder and former CEO of dotloop, Austin Allison. According to Forbes.com, “The company specializes in subdividing vacation homes among multiple owners, in most cases buying them up front and managing use among multiple parties.” And, “the startup says it has also secured $1 billion in debt financing.“

With its deep pockets and slick marketing, Pacaso thinks it can do business in any community and ignore regulations pertaining to time-shares, vacation rentals, and transient occupancy.  Their position seems to be that because the vacation home is owned by an LLC, rather than being rented, none of these regulations apply. 

Pacaso is currently operating a fractional ownership vacation home at 1005 Valley View Street. This use has already been the subject of numerous noise complaints.  Additionally, there are two properties listed for sale at 1242 Madrona Avenue and 1629 Hillview Place.  Two more properties are under development as fractional ownership vacation homes at 1607 Kearney Street and 1509 Riesling Way.

These are 5 homes in working-class neighborhoods that might have been sold to local families.  Instead, they were snapped up and flipped into vacation homes.  It is unlikely that any local family will ever live there again and the demand for vacation homes will continue to drive home prices out of reach for working class families in St. Helena.

The City Attorney for St. Helena has found that Pacaso’s model is just a time-share model by another name and informed them that the City intends to prohibit them as such.  Pacaso’s response was to file suit in the US District Court of Northern California, claiming (among other grievances) “Invalid Use of Municipal Authority”.  In other words, the City of St. Helena doesn’t have the authority to regulate the kinds of uses that occur within its boundaries.

 The Municipal Code of the City of St. Helena (17.112.130.) states, “The creation of a time-share project as a means of ownership of any single-family, two-family or multiple-family dwelling or any apartment house shall be prohibited within the city.” Pacaso is attempting to circumvent both the rule and intent of this regulation through the legal “sleight-of-hand” of “fractional ownership”.  They argue that since the vacation home is owned by an LLC of 8 members, rather than being rented, the rules don’t apply. 

St. Helena has a dozen or more hotels/motels, 6 licensed bed and breakfasts, and 25 permitted short term vacation rentals (STRs). These are commercial enterprises and are regulated as such. The hotels/motels are located in commercially-zoned districts. The B&Bs and STRs are allowed in residential neighborhoods under strict regulation.  All of these hospitality businesses collect and pay transient occupancy tax.

Pacaso would have you believe that their model of buying up (often) working-class houses in residential neighborhoods, upgrading them into party houses, and selling shares to transient vacationers is not a commercial enterprise and should not be regulated in any way.

Napa residents are actively protesting the conversion of working-class homes in their neighborhoods to fractional ownership vacation homes.  Yountville’s Town Council recently debated how quickly it should move to limit the practice.

Those of us opposed to Pacaso bringing their vacation homes to our residential neighborhoods are concerned that this violation of both the letter and intent of our City’s regulations will have multiple negative impacts upon the quality and character of those neighborhoods. It is clear to us that all the negative impacts associated with transient occupancy in residential neighborhoods can be expected if Pacaso is allowed to circumvent the regulations designed to protect our neighborhoods.

We the undersigned neighbors and members of the community strongly oppose the incursion of  “time-shares” by any other name into our neighborhoods.  We ask you to support our position by signing this petition.

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!