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Barbara Wilson, Dana Point

On Sept. 20, the Dana Point City Council could vote on an ordinance that may drastically change the character of our city.

Dana Point seems to be one of the only cities in Orange County that is considering allowing short-term rentals (less than 29 days) in all residential areas. Other cities are trying to eliminate or limit the proliferation of short-term rentals that are occurring due to Airbnb and other internet advertising, while we’re possibly set to allow it in the entire city.

Many Southern California cities have already taken or are considering actions to limit or prohibit short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods. These include Newport Beach, Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano. Los Angeles and Santa Monica are addressing similar issues.

Many cities, including San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente, are creating broad ordinances that address all forms of transitory lodging including boarding houses, congregate care facilities and recovery homes. Dana Point’s ordinance will address the sole issue of vacation rentals of 29 days or less and is silent on other short-term residential uses.

The proposed ordinance turns Dana Point’s short-term rental policy over to the control of the California Coastal Commission. We will be giving up local control and our ability to make future changes as the need arises. The Coastal Commission’s powers will extend not just to our coastal zone but to all residential neighborhoods throughout the city (except where CC&Rs and HOAs prohibit short-term rentals).

While we all recognize the need for coastal access, Dana Point already has many accommodations for visitors. Is it really necessary to bring short-term vacationers into our residential areas as well?

Please write your City Council members and attend the September 20 City Council meeting (6 p.m.) to express your concerns about this ordinance. It is important to demand we have a voice in drafting a local ordinance that addresses the proliferation of short-term rentals and ALL forms of transitory lodging in a way that respects the needs of those wishing to enjoy our city but also protects our right to the peaceful enjoyment of our residential neighborhoods.

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About The Author Dana Point Times

comments (1)

  • Mike Hoffman, Dana Point Reply

    I personally think the city council was very wise in the way the short term rental ordinance was crafted. Other cities can learn a thing or two from our elected leaders.

    Though the city permits Short Term rentals, you need to get a permit in order to do so. The permitting process requires a thorough inspection to ensure properties are up to code. Furthermore there is a limitation on the number of people who can stay in a property at one time. There are also strict requirements regarding parking availability. For example, a two bedroom condo must have two assigned parking spots. Finally, owners who rent to problematic guests can have their permits revoked. In addition to all of these restrictions, in areas where there are Home Owners Associations, CC&Rs must permit vacation rentals before permits will be issued. Most Dana Point communities are governed by Home Owners Associations.

    I applaud our city council for taking the time to get feedback before finalizing this ordinance. Ultimately I believe Short Term rentals provide great tax revenue for our city, help to support our local restaurants and stores, provide great income opportunities for homeowners all with a set of controls that help to ensure that owners who abuse the privilege to rent short term can quickly have their permits revoked.

    Coastal access should not be limited to privileged few who live here and unfortunately our hotels can be cost prohibitive and uncomfortable for families looking to visit Dana Point. Short Term rentals have operated in our city harmoniously for decades, banning them could dramatically impact the fabric and nature of our community.

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