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Susanne Christensen, Dana Point

Current state: We have a short-term or vacation rental ordinance, which regulates short-term rentals (STRs) by controlling how many people, how many cars, length of stay, etc. The ordinance has been in effect for three years and was previously discussed widely in the community for several years.

On Sept. 6, our City Council voted to include this ordinance as part of the Coastal Plan, which is governed by the California Coastal Commission (CCC) for the area within the Coastal Zone. This vote followed many discussions with the CCC, who had certain requests—some accepted and some declined. A request from the city was that, where there is a conflict between the HOA rules in a community and the ordinance, the HOA rules would prevail. The CCC agreed with this change. That is huge.

In Oxnard, for example, there’s an HOA within the Coastal Zone that refuses to allow vacation rentals. Two weeks ago, the CCC notified that HOA that it intends to take legal action.

Today, Beach Road, which those opposed to the ordinance cite as their poster child for why vacation rentals should be banned, can use their HOA powers to limit STRs, unlike the HOA in Oxnard. Is Beach Road really the issue then?

Future State: Those opposed to STRs want to repeal the ordinance and, supposedly, put the matter to a public vote. Many also asked the City Council on Sept. 6 to delay the vote until after the election in November. Could it be that they want a new composition on the City Council, so they can push through a different agenda altogether?

One scenario is practically a certainty; the CCC will not approve an ordinance that does not permit STRs in the coastal zone. And so costly litigation with the CCC begins…

Another scenario is highly likely. While it may be difficult now, with an ordinance in place, to regulate STRs with limited enforcement resources, imagine how difficult it will be with no law.

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