By Breeana Greenberg
Dana Point City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday night, June 21, to postpone a public hearing to discuss an appeal to the city’s recently approved short-term rental program regulating local vacation rentals.
A special meeting to discuss the city’s STR program and “rework the language” of the ordinance is set for July 12 at 6 p.m.
Dana Point residents Mark Zanides and Kim Tarantino filed the appeal on May 23, arguing two main points: that the Planning Commission doesn’t have the authority to approve an STR program and should be passed through a City Council vote; and that the program would damage the character of the city.
After returning from closed-session discussions, Mayor Joe Muller explained that “a lot of issues came up in the emails we got; there was a robust discussion about some of the legal implications of that, (and) that’s why we got in here late this evening.”
Councilmember Michael Villar made a motion to continue the hearing to July 12.
“My sincerest apologies to the group here; because you’re here, this is extremely important or you wouldn’t be here,” Villar said. “It’s so important that I think we need to continue this, have its own meeting for it.”
Council also voted to put together a new subcommittee, with Villar and Mayor Pro Tem Mike Frost working with staff, to revisit the ordinance’s language and discuss the legal issues that the city faces in regard to STRs.
“Maybe we can get the language right,” Villar said. “There’s a lot in there that we need to work on, and I don’t think we can fix it tonight, but I think that if we put a subcommittee together, and again, this isn’t a ploy to make people go away; in fact, I hope that you all do come back on July 12.”
“But it is extremely important that we get this right,” Villar continued.
Paul Wyatt, a former councilmember, said that the council recognized a need to take more time before ultimately making a decision and was pleased with their decision to postpone the hearing.
Tarantino said that council’s decision was a surprise, but signaled that they were taking the issue seriously.
“Their decision to do that proves that they recognize that this is an issue that many people care about, and they felt they wanted to give it even more thought and consideration,” Tarantino said.
Breeana Greenberg is the city reporter for the Dana Point Times. She graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Before joining Picket Fence Media, she worked as a freelance reporter with the Laguna Beach Independent. Breeana can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org