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Mark Zanides, Dana Point
The City Council’s adoption of the amendment, which grants the Coastal Commission the right to approve any action which “modifies, limits or prohibits” short-term rentals (STRs) in the coastal zone means that Dana Point will never be able to limit or prohibit short-term rentals, no matter how much damage or destruction to our neighborhoods they do. This is made clear in a Coastal Commission letter dated August 26, 2016, threatening action against a homeowner’s association in Oxnard which sought to ban short-term rentals. The Coastal Commission has stated:
“In all instances, short-term vacation rentals increase the range of options available to coastal visitors. Under the Coastal Act, these types of rentals constitute a high-priority visitor-serving use that provide important overnight accommodations for members of the public in coastal communities and support increased coastal access opportunities.”
The Commission claims that it “understands and appreciates that short-term vacation rentals may raise neighborhood character and operational issues, such as site management, number of occupants, special events, parking, litter and noise limits.
“Therefore, the Coastal Commission has endorsed certain regulations to require on-site management, enforcement protocols, occupancy limits, required parking and other use provisions.” Dana Point is now stuck with its current Dana Point ordinance, which does not limit the number of short-term rental licenses which can be granted. Any later effort by Dana Point to “limit,” much less prohibit, short-term rentals would be rejected by the Coastal Commission.
This amendment is not, as the city staff claimed, “minor.” Nor is it “the best deal we can get” from the Coastal Commission, as Councilman Schoeffel claimed. In fact, there appears to have been no negotiation with the Coastal Commission, but simply capitulation. This amendment is a Trojan horse which will forever give away our right to self-government on this important issue. It is a disaster. All Dana Point residents who care about the future of their city should sign the referendum to repeal 5.38 currently being circulated.
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