Sheri Cecil’s op-ed about short-term rentals was right on.

I can still recall, when I was a Santa Barbara City Planning Commissioner, telling the then City Attorney and then City Planner in a public hearing that they were approaching the issue the wrong way when they insisted in dealing with STRs (short-term rentals) as hotels. My analogy to them was trying to force a square peg into a round hole. I implored them to consider that STRs were neither single family properties nor were they hotels but rather something that should be treated entirely differently.

I also pointed out that the concept of STRs had become well entrenched worldwide and the city had best get onboard like other cities had already done. They ignored me then, much as the staff ignores the unelected appointed board members, and they are still ignoring the reality now. I’ve been disappointed that our elected City Council has apparently never given staff direction to fix this but has simply approved staff’s methods of dealing with it.

It’s too bad that the staff doesn’t chose to work with the STR operators rather than treating them as someone to work against. Perhaps the new City Administrator will provide guidance to her staff to change their approach. We can only hope.

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