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Mark Zanides, Dana Point

Despite city claims that its short-term rental (STR) ordinances are working well, public records provided to me by the city, the Sheriff’s Department and the HOA community show this to be incorrect.

  1. The ordinances require registration of STRs and prohibit parking and nuisance violations. City records reflect that there have been no citations for nuisances, parking violations, loud parties, etc. even though many clearly occurred. The city admits that it does not even maintain a record of telephoned STR complaints.
  2. The city has told residents of Beach Road that it will not enforce any STR violations other than unregistered STRs, and that they should call their own security or call the Sheriff in the event of an issue with a STR. In 2015, Beach Road security reported 624 nuisance violations specifically related to its 40 short-term rental units, and reported 365 more through July 2016.
  3. While the city has directed residents to call the Sheriff with STR complaints, it does not monitor STR-related complaints made to the Sheriff. Sheriff’s records reflect that between Jan. 1, 2014 and Oct. 5, 2016, it received 350 calls for service related to only 80 short-term rental units. One STR unit had 33 police calls and still holds a valid permit. None of these calls was apparently followed up with Code Enforcement, even though many surely would have involved a violation of the STR ordinance.
  4. The city casually enforces the code against unregistered STRs. Residents of one community provided proof to me of a total of 211 illegal STRs, but only 47 resulted in city citations. In total, city records revealed only 79 citations for unregistered STRs over an 18-month period.
  5. The citations issued by the city call for administrative penalties totaling $37,000, but only $17,687 was collected. One owner accumulated 12 violations and is still apparently operating without a permit.

In short, city enforcement of the STR codes has been sorely lacking.

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