The Price of Paradise

Concerned Citizens Weigh in on Short-Term Vacation Rentals

Residents of unincorporated neighborhoods are growing increasingly anxious as county planners wrangle with the ballooning question of what to do about the controversial issue of short-term vacation rentals. An effort in that direction drew about 60 concerned citizens to Westmont College Thursday evening, August 20, for a workshop hosted by the county’s Long Range Planning Division. Participants chimed in on whether short-term rentals of less than 30 days ought to be allowed in residential neighborhoods when the property owner is not present. Also up for debate was the legality of short-term homestay rentals — during which the property owner lives onsite. County planners are looking to gather more community feedback through an online survey slated for launch next week.

After a mass-distillation of the issue’s wide-ranging scope — from absentee landlords operating revolving-door party pads in once-quiet neighborhoods to ranchers offering rural vacations in converted cowhand cottages — the county’s Planning Commission will face the issue this fall in public hearings, with the goal of defining and presumably regulating a burgeoning industry that filled county coffers with nearly $1.4 million in transient-occupancy taxes last fiscal year.

A draft of such an ordinance is expected to reach the Board of Supervisors this spring. At this point, however, “we’re still at the concept level,” according to Long Range Planning Division Deputy Director Matt Schneider.

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