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The city of Dana Point recently held online meetings with its planning commission short-term rental policy subcommittee. I appreciate being invited to meet with other residents who neighbor STRs. However, more public forums are needed to allow differing groups to hear each other. The city’s approach appears to be to divide and confuse, with limited public oversight.

I am also concerned the city continues to publicly present STRs in residential zones as a California Coastal Commission requirement. Actually, the CCC’s authority is limited to the coastal zone, which is a narrow strip of land along coastal waters, not the entire city. The CCC has zero authority outside the coastal zone. Nearly all currently grandfathered-in STRs are located outside the coastal zone in the Lantern District and Capistrano Beach (Districts 4 and 5). Check the new STR map on the city website.

Council’s top priority should be protecting residential neighborhoods and our beach community character. In 2015, Carlsbad’s council supported residents and banned STRs outside the coastal zone with no CCC involvement. Laguna Beach recently limited STRs to commercial zones with CCC support. Dana Point could take either action right now to protect residential neighborhoods while continuing to develop coastal zone STR policy. They could also implement a homestay/owner-occupied program, which is supported by residents and the CCC.

The CCC’s priority is to ensure public access to coastal resources. The public has extraordinary coastal access in Dana Point from Salt Creek Beach, Strands Beach and the Headlands, to the Ocean Institute, harbor shops/restaurants, and Doheny State Beach/Campgrounds. And we have lots of existing hotels that need to fill rooms, with several more on the way. Our hotels, which actually pay their TOT, should not be competing against residential properties.

Residents do not want Potterville. Council may ultimately choose to continue allowing unrestricted STRs/mini-hotels in residential areas outside the coastal zone, an idea already defeated by referendum once. If they do, they should not hide behind the CCC and own any decision to reject majority residents in support of big business and their real estate contributors.

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