Short-term rental hearing to begin earlier; workshop times also changed

Short-term rental hearing to begin earlier; workshop times also changed
The April 17 City Council meeting will begin two hours early, at 4 p.m., to first discuss a permit for a tent at Powerhouse Park for Breeders’ Cup activities in November. An appeal hearing on short-term rentals such as this one is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

DEL MAR — With anticipated lengthy discussions on two topics scheduled to be heard, the April 17 City Council meeting will start at 4 p.m., two hours earlier than normal.

“This will allow more time for thoughtful discussion of all agenda items, including public hearings for the appeals of the Planning Commission’s determination on short-term rentals … and the Barn at the Beach Coastal Development Permit for the Breeders’ Cup,” states the staff report for the April 3 meeting, when the change was unanimously approved as part of the consent calendar.

Council members will first decide on whether to grant a permit for a 16,500-square-foot tent at Powerhouse Park for two weeks as part of the 2017 Breeders’ Cup activities.

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is hosting what is considered the Super Bowl of horseracing for the first time in the event’s history on Nov. 3 and 4.

Although there are only two days of racing, the DMTC is planning a week of off-site public and private events leading up to the races for visitors and the local community.

The temporary structure, billed as the “Barn at the Beach,” would be about 26 feet high at the eastern elevation of the sloped site, accommodate 1,000 people and be used until 10 p.m.

It would be in place for a little more than two weeks — from Oct. 25 to Nov. 8 — including about four days to set it up and three to take it down. Existing pathways for access to the beach will remain open.

Council members conceptually approved the permit when the proposal was first introduced in December. They said they needed more information on temporary street closures, parking management, noise, signs and lighting before making a final decision.

Those impacts will be discussed April 17.

Residents said they support the idea but had concerns about the length of time the tent would be in place.

Following the “Barn at the Beach” discussion, the appeal hearing for the Planning Commission’s decision on short-term rentals is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.

Council members asked the panel earlier this year to interpret the municipal code to determine if rentals of less than 30 days are allowed in residential zones.

Commissioners at the Feb. 14 meeting, in a 3-2 vote, ruled that an interpretation could not be made because short-term rentals are not defined or listed in the municipal code.

Two groups of homeowners filed appeals, which council members last month agreed to hear.

The start times for upcoming budget workshops have also been changed. The May 5 meeting, originally scheduled from 4-8 p.m., will start at noon and run until at least 5 p.m.

Based on historically greater turnout of community members on Saturday morning rather than the afternoon, the May 6 four-hour workshop, initially set to begin at 1 p.m., will now start at 9 a.m.

Councilman Dave Druker said he expects the workshops to last about 12 hours total and would like to include an “accounting 101” lesson on how to read and understand a city budget.

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