OCEANSIDE — City Council decided to continue prohibiting short-term rentals on nonconforming panhandle lots without any exceptions at its Feb. 5 meeting.
The city first approved its short-term rental (STR) ordinance to begin regulating STRs in June. In its infancy, the ordinance prohibited STRs on nonconforming panhandle lots, which are lots that do not meet the city standards set forth in its zoning ordinance.
In December, council directed staff to prepare an amendment to the STR ordinance that would allow certain hosted STRs on these lots to be considered by council.
According to Planner Shannon Vitale, staff identified six registered STRs that were operating prior to the STR ordinance taking effect. Of those six, four were hosted and two were not hosted.
The amendment would have allowed the four hosted STRs to apply for an administrative conditional use permit (ACUP). Those applications would have been considered by planning, fire and transportation staff to determine if the impacts of allowing the STRs to continue operation on the surrounding neighbors would be too great.
John Taylor, a resident who lives by one of the STRs that would have been eligible to apply for the administrative CUP had council approved it, said that it wasn’t fair to make an exception for a small number of residents.
“We certainly all can’t have an STR,” Taylor said. “Nobody should have an STR in a nonconforming easement.”
Taylor said three of the lots have easements that would not allow for more than one car to pass at a time, which would be a risk to public safety.
Councilwoman Esther Sanchez agreed, noting the ACUP would be likely rejected for those properties anyway with that being the case.
Deputy Mayor Jack Feller pointed out that there might be others with STRs that the city doesn’t know about due to the high amount of panhandle lots that are unaccounted for in the city.
Council approved to continue prohibiting STRS on nonconforming panhandle lots 3-1-1, with only Mayor Peter Weiss opposed. Councilman Chris Rodriguez recused himself from the vote.
Samantha Nelson covers Oceanside, Camp Pendleton and the decommissioning San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. She earned her journalism degree from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, and has previously reported for The Athens Messenger in Athens, Ohio, and USA Today in McLean, Virginia. Follow her on Twitter: @samm1son