OCEANSIDE — City Planner Jeff Hunt shared a draft of the city’s short-term rental ordinance with the Planning Commission on Sept. 26, which puts guidelines in place to allow vacation rentals and protect neighbors.
Short-term rentals are abundant along the beachfront. Proposed rules cast a wider net and apply to rental agreements that are less than 30 days citywide.
Hunt said the downside of vacation rentals are strangers coming and going, noise, unkempt trash and parking issues. He said regulations aim to address these concerns.
There is also concern that short-term rentals reduce available long-term rentals and contribute to the lack of affordable housing.
Under new rules owners would be required to pay an annual $60 transit occupancy tax, follow a good neighbor policy which includes a 24/7 contact for complaints, restrict noise from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m., provide full on-site parking and limit renters to two per bedroom plus one additional person per unit.
Renters must acknowledge responsibility to comply with city rules.
Regulations would apply to new and existing short-term rentals. Violations could result in revocation of the permit, a $1,000 fine or six months imprisonment.
Commissioners questioned several aspects of the ordinance, including the lack of a density limit and whether sober living facilities would be included.
Commissioner John Scrivener said he would like sober living facilities to be addressed through zoning regulations, which restrict the number and location of “troublesome businesses.”
Scrivener also question how short-term rental rules would be enforced.
“The city has a tendency to make rules, and can’t enforce them,” Scrivener said. “I think it’s unfair to residents.”
Oceanside resident Joel West said there are two short-term rentals on his street, and he finds it difficult to get the city to act on traffic impacts. West asked what he can do as a resident, short of videotaping renters leaving their car at the curb and walking into the rental to convince the city the vacation rentals are causing the parking problem.
West added the fine for violations needs to be high enough to impact owners who rent out properties for up to $3,500 a day.
Scrivener said the city is moving away from processes that include public input.
Vacation rental permits will be issued through the city business license division without public hearings or neighborhood notification.
Commissioner Colleen Balch suggested the use of zoning codes that would allow the city to require property owners to petition to open vacation rentals.
“We shouldn’t have hotels in the middle of a residential zone,” Balch said.
Hunt said he would pass along commissioners’ comments to City Council that sober living facilities should be restricted to certain zones, and consideration needs be given to short-term rental enforcement.
The commission gave a unanimous recommendation with the addition of its comments.
Solutions other cities have adopted to regulate short-term rentals range from permits, to licenses, to a ban on vacation rentals.
A public workshop on the short-term rental ordinance will be held Oct. 19.