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August 2020 Update on Proposed Vacation Rental Regulations
In the fall of 2019, based on a public outcry at City Council meetings, the Morro Bay city manager and city council decided to move forward with reviewing and revising vacation rental regulations for the city. They were originally going to wait until the General Plan was completed and approved but pressure from the community forced them to re-prioritize and tackle the problem sooner rather than waiting. They held a community forum on October 9th, 2019 and there were approximately 70 people that attended. Of course, Beach-N-Bay Getaways and URelax management and employees showed up in force! There was a good showing of people who support the continuation of VRs in the city but also several who have had bad experiences with noise, parking and trash at VRs in their neighborhoods. People on both sides of the issue were adamant that the city shut down the many illegal vacation rentals that are currently operating.
After the community forum, the city established an ad hoc committee made up of 3 vacation rental owners/managers, 3 private citizens, 1 hotel owner and 1 member of the Planning Commission who is also a business owner. A representative from our company was selected to represent the professional vacation rental managers. This committee has concluded their discussions and the recommendations coming out of the committee have been converted into a new draft ordinance for short term vacation rental regulations. Please see the proposed ordinance here: https://www.morrobayca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/14625/VR-Committee-Summary-and-Draft-Ordinance-Aug-2020
For the most part, the proposed regulations are designed to support better managed STR properties, better enforcement of regulations and more aggressive identification and shutdown of illegal STRs operating in the city. The biggest issue we have with these regulations is the proposal to eliminate all non-compliant STRs in 2 to 3 years. These regulations also propose a proximity rule that limits the density of STRs in neighborhoods and any licensed property that does not meet these new rules would be considered non-compliant and risk revocation of their license based on some agreed upon lottery system. We feel this is extremely unfair – to randomly punish license holders who have been paying TOT and have been compliant for many years. We feel this is a violation of property rights and very unfair.
The Chamber of Commerce also wrote a position paper on STR regulations that you can review here.
Please continue to monitor our blog for updates as they happen. It is likely that the Planning Commission will be reviewing and modifying these regulations as they feel appropriate in the August time-frame with it going on to the City Council in September and October. We ask that you review these proposed regulations and then make sure your voice is heard by the Planning Commission and City Council as the new regulations move through the government process.
IMPORTANT: The California Coastal Commission has the final say on what regulations they will allow and part of their charter is ensuring that the public has access to all beaches and also affordable lodging near the beach, which STRs definitely fulfill.