Carp May Tighten Rules for Short-term Rentals

Originally appeared in the Santa Barbara News-Press, October 26, 2015

By Catherine Chen, News-Press Correspondent

Carpinteria property owners who hope to rent out their homes for weekend visitors in the near future may find themselves on a wait list.

The City Council tonight will discuss a proposed 45-day moratorium on short-term rentals in response to complaints from residents and to allow staff to work on new regulations.

Under the moratorium, no new permits will be given for short-term rentals in Carpinteria until at least mid-December.

In August, the City Council unanimously approved more stringent regulations for existing locations while options are considered to limit where short-term rentals can be located in the future.

That includes prohibiting rentals in single-family residential zones.

The city estimates more than 200 units fall under existing licenses, and about 50 are unlicensed, some in zones where such use is prohibited.

This year the city has licensed 15 vacation rentals.

City manager Dave Durflinger said the temporary ban will give staff the time needed to develop a tighter ordinance.

“The purpose is to let us process the new ordinance without any conflict,” he said, noting the council can adopt the new ordinance during the 45-day ban and supersede the moratorium, or, if staff is still working on it, the council can extend the moratorium.

The council can also let the moratorium expire without a new ordinance, he said.

“But we are expecting to complete the new ordinance by the end of the year.”

Short-term rentals are residential units rented for 30 consecutive days or less, including vacation rentals, according to the city. They can be subject to city or county land-use regulations, permit requirements, fees and taxes.

Theo Kracke, owner of Paradise Retreats in Santa Barbara, said he understands the city’s concerns but believes there is a need to educate the public regarding the issue.

“We hear common themes that rentals disrupt neighborhoods, degrade residential qualities, and causes affordable housing reductions,” Mr. Kracke said. “Some of these concerns are valid, but it’s not as big a problem as they think it is.”

Many of these problems are caused by poor rental management, he said.

“It happens when the owners are bad or they don’t care. It’s a real problem and people shouldn’t have to deal with it. But the solution has to be fair…Having a firm permitting process where permits can be revoked can help solve the problem.”

The city council will discuss the moratorium during its regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. today at City Hall, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.


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