Ann Gardner | Via Latina
|Community dialogue on short term rentals takes priority.
Photo Ann Gardner.
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On April 4 City Council unanimously (Councilmember Corti absent) passed an urgency moratorium on any new short-term rentals (STR) in Del Mar, but voiced different opinions on whether or not the Municipal Code should be amended to allow them in residential areas. The 45-day moratorium does not affect existing short-term rentals as long as owners have evidence that they were operating before the temporary moratorium was enacted. Short-term is generally defined by 28 nights or less and longer term rentals are not affected. The moratorium may be extended by Council for up to six months.
Some speakers questioned the “urgency.” Councilmember Mosier cited multiple reports from residents on the negative impact of short term rentals as a reason; Worden supported the moratorium to “protect the integrity of neighborhoods and to push the discussion as a priority;” Sinnott saw it as a mechanism to “get a reasoned result,” and Mayor Parks said “We get the message (that something has to be done) and we are going to get going.”
Over the past year the City Council has received complaints about the impact of short-term rentals on neighborhoods: noise, trash, parking, a change in community character when neighbors are replaced by visitors and the loss of housing stock for long term renters and permanent residents. Similar reviews are happening throughout California’s coastal communities. Some have banned STRs altogether: Coronado, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Carmel and Marin County, home to Tiburon and Sausalito. Others have established regulations: a minimum stay, limitation on number of occupants based on number of bedrooms, no advertising on property, a business license, on-site parking and owner-occupied. All of the cities listed in the information collected by staff require Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) where short term rentals are allowed. STR owners, according to the staff report, are concerned that regulations will affect properties income stream and contribution of visitors to the local economy.
The different opinions occurred when Planning Manager Adam Birnbaum put a list of questions before Councilmembers to help staff begin drafting a policy for STRs in Del Mar. Councilmembers Worden and Parks expressed opposition to amending the municipal code to allow short term rentals in residential areas while Councilmember Mosier suggested there was a difference between a full-time resident renting out or exchanging their home for a short period of time and a rental business in a residential zone. Councilmember Sinnott said although he generally doesn’t like regulations they were necessary with short term rentals in residential areas.
The list of questions to provide preliminary direction for staff was distributed to everyone in the chambers and is available to our readers at www.delmarsandpiper.org/#STR/. It was also agreed that the City would initiate a community input process that might involve public workshop and surveys, and staff distributed a sign-up sheet for interested persons. Readers can sign up as interested at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Looks like we will have to work from both ends of the issue,” Worden said of the different opinions. “Let’s engage as many residents as possible. Hopefully we can resolve.”