Theo Kracke (right), owner of Paradise Retreats, has won the latest round  in  a court battle against Santa Barbara City Attorney Ariel Calonne (left).

Paul Wellman

Theo Kracke (right), owner of Paradise Retreats, has won the latest round in a court battle against Santa Barbara City Attorney Ariel Calonne (left).

Judge Rules Against Vacation-Rental Ban

Santa Barbara Must Allow Rentals in Coastal Zone

In a tentative decision last week, Ventura County Superior Court Judge Mark Borrell ruled that the City of Santa Barbara must allow short-term vacation rentals (STVRs) to operate near the beach. Borrell’s ruling upends a portion of the city’s 2015 enforcement crackdown against the burgeoning industry, spurred by complaints that STVRs violated zoning laws meant to protect family neighborhoods and further impacted an already strained long-term rental market. The lawsuit against the city was brought by Theo Kracke, owner of Paradise Retreats, a business that connects Santa Barbara visitors and vacationers to clients willing to rent their homes for stays of less than 30 days. “This is a tentative decision, so we are cautiously optimistic,” Kracke said in a statement. “Nevertheless, we are thrilled it appears the court embraced our arguments that the city acted improperly.”

Kracke ​— ​represented by Rogers, Sheffield & Campbell LLP ​— ​argued that the city’s effort to ramp up enforcement violated the California Coastal Act, which requires seaside communities statewide to provide affordable visitor lodging within a close-to-shore area called the Coastal Zone. In Borrell’s ruling, the city failed to secure a coastal development permit from the California Coastal Commission, a requirement when an activity significantly “changes the intensity of use of land or water, even where no construction is involved,” according to the state agency. Citywide STVRs outside the Coastal Zone are unaffected by the court ruling. City Attorney Ariel Calonne has said he’ll appeal. Last year, the Coastal Commission denied Santa Barbara County’s attempt to ban STVRs in unincorporated neighborhoods within the Coastal Zone.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

Muslim Students Organize Vigil for New Zealand Victims

Attack that killed 51 people described as “act of pure evil and terrorism” by UCSB students.

News Commentary: Death Penalty Shouts and Whispers

Governor's reprieve has little effect in Santa Barbara, except in the Han case.

Goleta Planning Commissioners Just Say ‘No’

Vociferous comments from Old Town residents help tip the balance for oversight on cannabis storefront applications.

Bullet Holes Found in Goleta Barbershop Window

Public's help requested in shooting investigation.

Free Emergency Response Training

The Independent is hosting a CERT class with County Fire's Mike Eliason.