By Kristina Pritchett

The Dana Point short-term rental (STR) ordinance saga will continue after City Council repealed the ordinance governing STRs during their Nov. 15 meeting. The repeal comes after the submission of a referendum asking Council to reconsider, repeal or put to a vote an ordinance that approved short-term rentals in the city.

The original ordinance, which was 10 years in the making and had California Coastal Commission approval,  was approved in September and included a zone text amendment to allow STRs in all zoning districts where residential uses are allowed.

However, those opposed to the ordinance swiftly created a referendum that asked Council to reconsider or repeal the STR regulations, or to send it to a vote of the people. City Clerk Kathy Ward said a little less than 4,000 signatures were collected, and 2,065 needed to be verified.

At Tuesday’s meeting, City Attorney Patrick Muñoz said permit holders will still be permitted to rent out their homes on a short-term basis, though the city also elected to put a moratorium on issuing new permits.

Councilman Carlos Olvera said he wasn’t sure if a vote of the people was the best idea because many speakers mentioned residents didn’t even know about the ordinances.

“How are we going to go to a vote of the people if they don’t know what we’re talking about?” Olvera said and added he was in favor of repealing the ordinance to create something everyone would be happy with.

Councilman Joe Muller said the community now has the opportunity to take a step back and make adjustments.

Currently, the California Coastal Commission has a Local Coastal Program Amendment (LCPA) to certify the ordinances. Muñoz said the city may need to send the Coastal Commission a letter informing them of the repeal.

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