Vacation Rental Ordinance Update

A continuation of the previous Housing Advisory Commission (HAC) meeting to address the vacation rental ordinance took place on Wednesday October 6th. It was held in the gym at Live Oak Elementary School, and about 200 people attended.

Compared with the lack of civility experienced by neighbors and supporters of the ordinance at the previous HAC meeting, the tone of this meeting was different, and virtually no outbursts from the audience occurred while people were speaking. Public testimony was limited to those who hadn’t spoken at the first meeting, and about an equal number of vacation rental owners opposing the ordinance and neighbors supporting the ordinance spoke.

After the public testimony and a great deal of deliberation by the commission members, the HAC finally voted for a much simplified version of the ordinance, compared with the original version brought to the commission by Planning Department staff.

The version proposed by the HAC provided for registration of vacation rentals with the county (with payment of Transient Occupancy Tax), a local contact person for
neighbors to call in the event of problems, a posted sign at each vacation rental with the name and number of the person to call, cost recovery for the Sheriff’s Department when they have to respond to problems at a vacation rental, and dispute resolution for problem rental houses.

Other aspects of the original ordinance, such as limits on the number of people in a rental based on the number of bedrooms, provisions
for adequate on-site parking, limits on the number of times a property can be rented in a 7-day period, density limits on new vacation rentals in a neighborhood, the grandfathering of current vacation rentals, and the definition of special districts exempt from the ordinance were not recommended by the HAC.

The commission also asked
for a third HAC meeting on the vacation rental ordinance to review its proposal once again after the Planning Department staff made the recommended revisions.

The next steps in the public process for this ordinance will be the third HAC meeting this Wednesday, November 3rd, at 3:30pm in the Board of Supervisors chambers in the County Building, followed by the Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday November 10th at 9:00am, also in the Board chambers.

Be aware that vacation rental property owners have stepped up their campaign against me by declaring this “Leopold’s Law.” They have introduced ads on KSCO


about me and have written an editorial in the Sentinel


about the ordinance that included a great deal of hyperbole and false information. If you care about this issue, please be sure to attend the November 3rd and November 10th meetings and/or submit written comments [] for consideration.