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Palm Springs is revisiting its Airbnb crackdown

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After strong pushback, the city will consider loosening its rules

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Good news if you're jonesing to Airbnb a room in that sweet midcentury Palm Springs pad with a kidney-shaped pool: The city will consider replacing its sweeping new law to crack down on short-term rentals tomorrow.

The tough law was put on hold shortly after it passed in November, and the city council is slated to take up the matter on Wednesday.

It was put on pause after a political action committee, Citizens for a Better Palm Springs, gathered enough signatures on a petition calling for reconsideration of the ordinance or for the issue to be put before voters in November, The Desert Sun reported.

The city council then began negotiating with the group to revise the controversial ordinance, which limits the number of places and times a property owner may offer a room for rent.

The proposed new ordinance would increase the number of times a permitted property owner could rent during the summer months and grandfather in property owners with multiple short-term rental units (the ordinance would grant new permit holders permission for only one short-term rental unit per person).

There's a slight wrinkle: A representative of Citizens for a Better Palm Springs told The Desert Sun that it hasn't signed off on the new ordinance, though City Manager David Ready said the city thought it had a deal.

"What we were led to believe was that we did have an agreement with them last week, but I'm not certain if that is the case any longer," Ready told Curbed.

In any case, the council could approve the new ordinance on Wednesday or push the matter off to a subsequent meeting.

If the new ordinance is approved, it would replace the old one, rendering a proposed November referendum moot, Ready said.

"The key thing is that the council is trying to find the right balance that does two things: One, it continues to allow vacation rentals, because in many cities they've been banned," Ready said. "Also, make sure the neighborhoods where those vacation rentals are are not disruptive to the neighbors. So we're trying to find that balance and the right model, unlike many cities who just flat outright banned them."

Curbed reached out to representatives of Citizens for a Better Palm Springs but hasn't received a response yet.

Short-term rental restrictions were championed by the traditional hotel industry, as well as residents who objected to noise and other nuisances from short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods.

But there was immediate pushback from the real estate and short-term rental industry, as well as some property owners, who argued that the rentals afford them needed extra income and benefit the local economy.