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Mailbag: Homes good for business, bad for residents

August 04, 2011

Re. "Newport council weighing Morningside agreement," (July 25): Loved the article! What was of special interest to me was the fact that our city has to spend the time and money to not only field the complaints of these businesses, but also issue violation notices. Not to mention the time and energy spent trying to get these businesses into compliance, going back again and again.

In this current economy, the city shouldn't have to shoulder the expense of policing these special agreement businesses! We had a son-in-law who was in recovery himself, and he made his living for a brief while in the recovery home business. And it is very lucrative. These companies rent a residential house (at residential rates), then put two to four (or more) beds in a room and charge each occupant for their recovery time (and the money to pay for this recovery time is more often than not money from a government agency).

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The owner of the home is usually happy with this arrangement because he gets his "investment" property rented out full time, at full price. The recovery business is happy with this because the "destination" location in Newport Beach guarantees full occupancy (maximizing income).

So, the only loser in this whole deal is the hard-working, taxpaying citizen — the local residents are not happy to have a commercial endeavor located in their residential area (and make no mistake that this is indeed a commercial endeavor.

The people who run these recovery homes are in it to make money, not for the love of humanity, and the city is not happy having to spend its resources to ensure compliance. I don't know if it is legal for the city to do this, but our association fines the homeowner for a renter's bad behavior and failure to comply.

It may be illegal to restrict these types of businesses from operating in our city's residential areas, but if we made it so expensive for the owner of the property to rent to these businesses, maybe the owners would get rid of these tenants for us.

Again, I don't know if it is legal (and if it's not, maybe there can be some sort of change to the legal system to allow this), but a first offense/citation/visit is free, but the second offense involves a charge, and each offense after that, the charge is doubled (either up to a ceiling or not.)

If the owner of this property is made to share in the pain that is caused by this business, he might begin to feel some compassion for his neighbors (or at least a pain in his wallet) and either serve a three-day notice to perform or not renew the lease.

Let's hope something can be done to help the neighbors of these businesses.

Vicki Bowers

Newport Beach

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