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By Lillian Boyd

City of Dana Point will hold two important public meetings in November to gain feedback on its short-term rental program and the redistricting process.

A Short-Term Rental Program public meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 8.

The City of Dana Point created a Short-Term Rental (STR) program in 2016. In its first year, more than 200 permits were acquired and operating in the city. In 2017, following a public referendum, the city council stopped issuing new short-term rental permits, but has allowed those with existing permits to renew and operate annually.

In September 2020, at the Dana Point City Council’s direction, the Planning Commission began developing updates to the existing Short-Term Rental (STR) program. After evaluating short-term rentals, the city is now collecting community input in an effort to ensure the program serves both residents and vacationers.

Short-term rentals are often arranged on websites such as Airbnb, HomeAway or Vacation Rentals by Owner (Vrbo). Photo: Lillian Boyd

Short-term rentals are defined as entire residential houses or apartments, or rooms within, that are rented out to visitors for a fee between one and 29 consecutive days. Short-term rentals are often arranged on websites such as Airbnb, HomeAway or Vacation Rentals by Owner (Vrbo).

A Short-Term Rental Subcommittee had first met in April 2018 to evaluate and update municipal code regulations pertaining to short-term rentals (STRs). California Coastal Commission (CCC) staff met with the subcommittee in February 2020, when it was reportedly suggested that the city develop an STR pilot program that would allow for regulations, community compatibility and coastal access. Ultimately, the program would still require CCC approval of a coastal development permit (CDP).

As of October 1, 2021, there are 129 STR permits operating in Dana Point.

In September 2020, the Planning Commission began developing updates to the existing Short-Term Rental (STR) program. Public input is requested on proposed changes to the current STR program to ensure the program works for both residents and visitors.

To discuss potential changes, there will be a public webinar meeting on Monday, November 8, at 6 p.m. To join, find the webinar link in the online version of this article or call 1.699.900.6833. This will be the first in a series of public meetings. To be added to the interested parties list for upcoming meetings, email str@danapoint.org.

A public meeting on the redistricting process will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, November 16, during a Dana Point City Council meeting.

The City of Dana Point is undergoing the redistricting process as required by state law following the 2020 Census. Draft maps, provided by National Demographics Corporation (NDC), will be available for public review and input on or before Tuesday, November 9. To view the draft maps online and review the redistricting process, visit bit.ly/DPDistricting.

Because state law requires a process to explore redistricting following a U.S. Census, held every 10 years, city officials held a public hearing on Tuesday, July 20, to explore the process. In total, the city is required to hold four public hearings on the matter—the July 20 hearing being the second one. The first two hearings are to occur prior to draft maps. Subsequently, two public hearings must occur after draft or proposed maps for redistricting are prepared.

“Every 10 years, we go through this process,” said Todd Tatum, with the NDC, during the July 20 meeting. “Any city within the state of California that is by-district election, we have to review the demographics and make sure they’re in balance.”

According to preliminary data presented by Tatum, there were no significant concentrations of Latino, African American, Asian American or Native American residents.

“We want to define your neighborhoods, and that’s where the city council and the public can really help,” Tatum said. “We want to define where your communities are. We want you to come out like you did two years ago and tell us about your neighborhoods and communities.”

Tatum added that minimal changes, if any, to the city’s districting maps are anticipated, as the population has not significantly changed since 2010. Once final census data is available, it will be possible to determine if the districts have become unbalanced and need to be adjusted.

Federal and state guidelines call for district maps to be of equal population, to be compliant with the Federal Voting Rights Act, and to not have racial gerrymandering. California criteria call for city districts to be geographically contiguous, to include undivided neighborhoods or communities of interest, to have easily identifiable boundaries and to be compact.

Comments and maps drawn by the public for consideration may be emailed to comment@danapoint.org with subject: Redistricting.

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