La Costa Estates resident Tracy Teregis spoke out against short-term rentals in the residential areas of Carlsbad at a council meeting Tuesday night. Photo by Ellen Wright
Carlsbad Community Community News

Short-term vacation rentals banned in half of Carlsbad

CARLSBAD—City Council members denied short-term vacation rentals in more than half the city Tuesday night, after hearing robust public comments, largely in favor of an outright ban.

Currently, rentals are not legal in the city but more than 400 operate using travel sites like VRBO and Airbnb and the city collected more than $330,000 in transient occupant tax on the rentals last fiscal year.

Short-term vacation rentals will be allowed in the coastal zone, which makes up 37 percent of the city and extends east from the coast to roughly El Camino Real.

The California Coastal Commission has fought other coastal cities in the past that tried to ban vacation rentals, which is why city staff recommended the approval of the coastal zone.

The commission is in favor of the rentals because they increase coastal access for visitors and tourists.

Councilmembers were given four options, ranging from a citywide allowance of the rentals to permitting them solely in the coastal zone.

Staff recommended a citywide approval because it would be easier to regulate and punish property owners through permit revocation and daily fines.

“It certainly is a lot harder to shut down an operator who’s not supposed to be there. It’s a lot harder to do that than to bring an operator into the program who’s allowed to be there,” said Assistant City Manager Gary Barberio.

Mayor Pro Tem Keith Blackburn said he understood staff’s philosophy but disagreed.

“In this particular case, I’m kind of hearing ‘It’s illegal, people are doing it anyway so let’s legalize it so we can better manage it.’ I kind of heard the same thing about drugs, prostitution and now I’m hearing about short term rentals,” Blackburn said to much applause from the crowd.

He said there are enough hotel and motel rooms throughout the city to accommodate visitors.

There are 4,060 hotel rooms, with an additional 300 currently under construction. There are also 1,500 timeshare rooms.

Many of the speakers against vacation rentals said they moved east of the coastal zone for peace and tranquility from traffic and tourism.

“We deliberately selected to live in this residential estate neighborhood outside of the coastal community so we would not have to deal with late nights, transients coming and going, noise, trash and the lack of security in not knowing who is living next door to you,” La Costa Estates resident Tracy Teregis said.

She and her husband Greg said their next-door neighbor converted a home into two vacation rentals, which has caused them to consider selling their home.

“I would hope that the city would stick up for homeowner rights versus businesses that want to run homes as motels,” said Greg Teregis.

Former real estate agent Joe Donnaghan spoke in favor of the rentals because he believes the city is missing out on a huge revenue source.

He has attended multiple council meetings pleading for the city to speed up the process of legalizing them.

“I hope the council will expedite this, we’ve already missed spring break and Easter and summer is going to be upon us, let’s not drag our feet,” Donegan told the council.

Councilmembers unanimously passed the ordinance, which will go for a second reading in two weeks and go into effect 30 days after that, in early June.

Short-term vacation rentals will be allowed in the shaded area, starting early June. Property owners will need to get a permit from the city. Courtesy photo
Short-term vacation rentals will be allowed in the shaded area, starting early June. Property owners will need to get a permit from the city. Courtesy photo

Short-term rental owners in the coastal zone will need to apply for a business license, which is accompanied by a yearlong permit.

They’ll have to post a 24-hour contact number to a local property manager in a window so surrounding neighbors can resolve conflicts.

The property manager will need to respond within 45 minutes, although Councilmember Michael Schumacher said there’s no way the city can regulate that.

Owners and each tenant will need to sign a Good Neighbor agreement, which outlines noise and trash rules.

The maximum amount of people allowed will be two people per bedroom plus one additional person per unit. For example, a two-bedroom rental would be allowed to accommodate five people.

Also, Homeowner Associations trump city and state ordinances so if an HOA doesn’t allow rentals, they are not allowed in that residential area.

City staff will come back to council in a year to review the ordinance and change it if necessary.

3 comments

GoodMoveCB April 23, 2015 at 3:32 pm

Awesome! If you lived next to one of these nightmare rentals in the middle of YOUR otherwise quiet and nice neighborhood where ignorant renting people live it up loud and noisy like they are at an adventure park despite the fact they are in the middle of a suburban neighborhood where all the houses around them have kids and families and working people, you would understand. These STVR renters would never act this way in their homes or want this in their neighborhoods. But they think it is fine in yours. People that own STVR units love and want the system, rights and rules when it protects them and allows them to do what they want and bemoan the exact same rules, rights and system when it makes them have to be accountable. So look, you want to own and run a STVR then fine. Now you need to be regulated as the other residents that have to put up with the nonsense spoke up. Play by the rules and you have no issues and all is well. Flaunt the rules and rent to rowdy people who do not care about our neighborhoods and the quality of life, and now you are on the hook. I look forward to using the rules to my advantage to make it hard on STVR owners that create issues in my neighborhood just as STVR owners look forward to using the rules and regulations to tell people like me (and my neighbors) to take a hike they are going to do what they want.

Disappointed May 12, 2015 at 7:09 am

goodmovecb, you sound very aggressive and scary. I would rather live by a rental. It sounds like you want revenge and will do whatever you can to get it. That is scary.

My thoughts, comparing vacation rentals to drug use and prostitution is a little dramatic don’t you think? Can’t we trust our city and process to make rules and regulate so that everyone can pursue their interests? This rule seems very closed minded. Can’t everyone find a way to cooperate? What a shame. I like Carlsbad because it’s a friendly city. This rule feels like a grouchy, NIMBY, locals only city. I think that’s a shame and I’m disappointed in our leadership. My take away, we allowed it in half of the city because someone would give us a hard time if we didnt’t. For the other half, there is no challenge with clout so let’s make a closed minded exclusionary decision where we won’t be challenged. Leadership takes courage. Navigating change is challenging. Commerce is changing. Accept it and embrace it and find a way to make it work for everyone. Don’t go home and read by candle light and pretend it isn’t happening.

Matt May 21, 2015 at 5:25 pm

Aren’t there already ordinances in place regarding excessive noise and all of these other issues that people are claiming to be a problem?

Why not enforce the existing laws? This sounds a lot more like an effort by the large hotel and property management companies to eliminate competition.

I’ve got to wonder how many people are really affected by this problem and how many of those who are affected tried other means of resolution directly with their neighbors.

It is also additionally stupid not to include the La Costa Resort area. How many millions of dollars of value did the city decide to take from those property owners?

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