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To BnB or not to BnB: That is the Question
Art Olson | Avenida Primavera

Photo Art Olson
Click photo to enlarge.

After over two years of dramatic Shakespearian fretting over whether short term rentals are to be or not to be in our little hamlet, the Del Mar City Council has acted decisively to ban them in all but the City’s Commercial Zone. Arguing forcefully for a strict interpretation of the Community Plan, and taking their cues from last month’s Planning Commission interpretation, the Council decided that since short term rentals are not mentioned in the City’s founding document, they are, in fact, illegal. However, in an act of leniency, the Council has granted pre-emptive pardons to those who have had short-term rentals in the past, and said that they will not be subject to prosecution.

In a related action, the City Council has completed an economic impact study of Del Mar’s future -- termed “Del Mar First,” and has decided that the entire city should be re-zoned Commercial. Professor of Economics at Corinthian University and part time Del Mar economic advisor, Peter P. Neverland, has concluded that overlaying a Commercial Zone on the entire city will result in the highest and best use of the Del Mar properties. He estimates that with every home listed as a business, the increase in business licenses, and related business taxes, will result in as much as an additional five million dollars per year in city revenue. Of this universal business coverage policy he states, “We will be able to out-compete neighboring cities like Solana Beach and Encinitas, which are currently eating our lunch.”

Opponents of short-term rentals see this re-zoning maneuver as an end-run around the ban, since its passage would mean that any residence in Del Mar could become a short-term rental. In a hastily assembled press conference to calm potential civic unrest, City staff spokesperson, ConnieAnn Killway, defended the move in her statement:

“The people of Del Mar should be overjoyed by this zoning change. It gives them the freedom to create whichever business model for their home that they desire without restriction -- not only short term rentals, but other creative entrepreneurial enterprises, like nail salons, hookah bars, massage parlors, ghost kitchens, and party venues. Of course if you have houseguests you may incur a transient occupancy tax (TOT) unless they stay longer than 30 days. In addition just think of the tax benefits from your home being zoned commercial -- you can depreciate your mattresses and box springs, not to mention sheets and pillowcases. Other benefits will include a free membership in the Del Mar Business Appreciation District Association. This includes with it, for each home owner a personalized page on its amazing website www.DM-BADAss.com.”

Not everyone in Del Mar is on board with the proposed Short Term Rental ban and zoning changes which are currently scheduled to go into effect later this year. Protest marches are being planned for April 1st to resist the City’s actions.

 

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