By Andrea Swayne
City Council on Tuesday voted to move forward with plans to formulate a draft ordinance to regulate short-term vacation rentals to be used in weighing the decision whether to adopt the new rules or to specifically ban them within the city.
(There is currently no city code or ordinance specifically banning short-term vacation rentals but it has long been the opinion of the Council that since they are not specifically prohibited, neither are they permitted.)
Staff presented a report detailing existing regulations in the cities of Newport Beach, Mammoth Lakes and Big Bear.
Following the presentation, discussion and public comments for and against, council members voted 3-2 requesting staff to prepare a draft ordinance for review at a future meeting.
Councilwoman Lisa Bartlett requested that staff also present an expanded matrix of short-term rental rules in more coastal cities.
Mayor Lara Anderson and Councilman Bill Brough cast the two dissenting votes.
The agenda report says the cost for implementation of a program similar to those of the three studied cities would cost $77,000 the first year and about $54,000 thereafter, to pay for an additional code enforcement employee.
The report also says that the cost could be offset by charging Transient Occupancy Tax at the same 10 percent rate hotels and motels currently pay, which would bring in revenue of about $400,000.
“The TOT revenue a nice carrot to dangle but the real question to ask when considering the issue is, “Do you want to live next door to one?” Anderson said.
Anderson favors enforcing the ban on short-term rentals but expressed a larger frustration with the years of unresolved issues surrounding the unenforced ban and said that, in light of her terming out December 4, she urged the Council to make a decision on the matter, one way or the other.
Councilman Steven Weinberg said the problem with short-term rentals lies in the bad behavior of some visitors and a ban would likely have little effect on the existence of the practice. He likened a possible ban to prohibition, in that when prohibition law went into effect, drinking didn’t cease, it just went underground.
City Manager Doug Chotkevys directed staff to construct a model ordinance to present at a future meeting.
City Council can continue tailoring the rules and regulations from there, should they choose to opt to continue in that direction, he said.
Read the full agenda report at www.danapoint.org.