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STRBs and Ice Cream

Scott Renner & Family | Via Alta

Sitting on our front porch in the early afternoon this past weekend, my wife and I yell, “No thanks, but thanks for asking!” to our neighbor as she and her daughter paused to greet us on their way to get ice cream, offering to bring us some as well. Unsolicited, a small act of random kindness extended by our neighbor. It’s just one of the reasons we feel so blessed to live in Del Mar, surrounded by such kind and generous people.

We’ve lost track, but it’s been approximately three years since the home next door converted back to a single-family residence from an STRB (short term rental business). During the time this home was an STRB, I wrote editorials critical of STRBs in our community precisely because our experience living next door to an actively-rented STRB was entirely negative. Returning from work, seeing another unfamiliar car in the adjacent driveway, a new family or families with kids or without kids enjoying their vacation pool-side, music, elevated speech and laughter as they enjoyed the home and their vacation, which would end in three to seven days, or extend as long as a few weeks, ultimately ending with an empty home, then maid service to clean and ready for the next occupants took its toll. Of course, these new families would have habits varying from the previous occupants, including music tastes, voice levels, pool use intensity, all to begin again with this next round of short term tenants just wanting to enjoy their time in a Del Mar neighborhood.

Writing this does two things: first, there is a small part of me that I have to own, that says, “Wow, look at the grouchy old man you’ve become at the premature age of 56!” These vacationers simply wanted to enjoy their time off, explore Del Mar, and participate in the local commerce. And here I am wanting to get in the way of that by taking that opportunity away. Second, I literally feel my blood pressure rise triggered by the thought of coming home from work, seeing a new car in the driveway, and not knowing what we were in for with these tenants - how long they would be there, and the overall fatigue of continuing life next door to an actively-used STRB.

Life without an STRB in our midst has been truly wonderful, like night and day, a breath of fresh air, a Del Mar sunset casting an orange glow in the evening sky, a “Hi” or “Hello,” some brief small talk between our neighbors and ourselves—what our kids are doing, the weather, the traffic, just the small patterns of day-to-day life that makes the question of “Do you want some ice cream?” so incredibly cool, comforting, and indicative of just what it means to live free of an STRB in our midst.



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