Short-term rentals emergen. ordinance fails in 3-2 vote

By Brett Callwood

At the City Council meeting on the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 13, short term rentals were once again the hot topic, as members of the public reliant on the income made themselves heard.

At a previous meeting in August, staff were directed to draft the emergency ordinance, granting a temporary moratorium on short term rental properties that are rented out on sites such as Airbnb.

In a short presentation in August, staff described a short term rental (STR) as “a dwelling unit which is shared, in whole or in part, for periods of 30 days or less as a way of generating rental income. May include swimming pools and special event venues.”

The draft ordinance presented on Tuesday reads, “the City Council would like to immediately prohibit short-term residential rentals in order to protect the public health, safety and welfare from the impacts listed above on short-term lodging rentals and make clear that other short-term rentals of residential properties are prohibited until such time as it considers a permanent ordinance and if adopted, such ordinance takes effect.”

The listed impacts mentioned include, “increasing noise and traffic, creating parking problems, changing the character of a residential neighborhood, and with the case of housing – creating an impact on housing supply.”

Council Member Wanda Love immediately spoke out against the moratorium, asking why the council would want to take away people’s incomes. Mayor Pro Tem Paulette Francis and Council Member Mark Henderson said that such temporary moratoriums were not uncommon while research is done.

Public speakers became emotional as they talked about their reliance on the income, and about how they hear more noise from non-short-term properties. 

The emergency ordinance needed 4 “yes” votes to pass, and it failed 2-3. Love, Council Member Rodney Tanaka and Mayor Tasha Cerda were the three “no” votes.

The issue will now carry over to the the Sept. 27 meeting, when the City Council will discuss passing reasonable ordinances related to short-term rentals.