Pacific Grove

Initiative to Preserve and Protect Pacific Grove’s Residential Character

PG COC STR Ad1.jpg


A coalition of concerned Pacific Grove residents and homeowners has created a group called the “Committee for a Financially Sound Pacific Grove.” They can be found at Farmer’s Market on Mondays and in front of the post office on Fridays from 2-4pm. They will be handing out brochures that contain valuable information about the ballot measure to ban STRs in residential neighborhoods this November, and why this would be detrimental to our city’s financial future. Stop by with your questions, and pick up a copy. Also, please check out their website by clicking on the link below,

Pacific Grove to impose lottery system in short-term rental program

Cedar St Times July 20 2018.1      Cedar St Times July 20 2018.2

Pacific Grove initiative to end short-term rentals in residential zone gets certified

Goldwater Institute Lawsuit Pine Cone June 29 2018

PG planning-commission-8-17-2017-7a-str-agenda-report

Short-term Rental Program | City of Pacific Grove




An Initiative has Been Filed to Limit STR’s.  Here is the entire Initiative in .pdf form

Initiative to Preserve and Protect Pacific Grove’s Residential Character

“There are currently 275 short-term rentals in our residential neighborhoods. The Initiative will only prohibit STRs in residential districts outside of the Coastal Zone (197 of the 275 total). STRs in commercial districts and the area governed by the California Coastal Commission are NOT affected by the Ballot Initiative. Further, the Initiative does not change the City’s existing rules allowing room rentals in resident-occupied single family homes. The Initiative recognizes the Pacific Grove City Council and California Coastal Commission must regulate short-term rentals within the Coastal Zone.

The City is currently drafting a comprehensive update to Pacific Grove’s Local Coastal Program. While this Initiative does not prohibit short-term rentals in the Coastal Zone, it identifies local conditions that the Commission has acknowledged may support short-term rental restrictions in the Coastal Zone, namely that the community “already provides an ample supply of vacation rentals” and that “further proliferation of vacation rentals would impact community character.” The Initiative does not prevent the City Council from imposing a short-term rental ban or further limitations in the Coastal Zone (see map at right depicting Pacific Grove’s Coastal Zone boundaries).”



In PG, STR are prohibited by its general plan and the state land act. It has an ordinance attempting to legalize STR, but it clearly violates the general plan and would be declared void in a mandamus action. Govt. code 65852 requires non-discrimination of uses within a zone, PG violates that statute by limiting the number of STR in R zones. That would likely make the ordinance void if challenged by an appropriate lawsuit. – John Moore

From To be or AirBnB;

Voices of Monterey Bay, by Joe Livernois, 12/7/17

Jenny McAdams, a vocal opponent to the city’s policy, says she supports owner-occupied short-term rentals. But she contends the city is inept at managing the program and that more than 80 percent of the homes being rented to vacationers live outside Pacific Grove.

McAdams has spent considerable time in research on the issue of vacation rentals in Pacific Grove. She’s developed a spreadsheet identifying each of the homes used for legal short-term rentals in the city. The database seems to show that most of the vacation rental owners live elsewhere.

“To me the numbers say the City of Pacific Grove is a bunch of suckers,” McAdams said. “Clearly investment groups and out of town investors are swooping up our neighborhoods, laughing their way to the bank, and throwing their TOT crumbs to the city.”

Brodeur points out that, unlike most jurisdictions, Pacific Grove issues licenses to short-term rental operators, rather than permits to property owners. He said the difference is important because it’s easier to pull a license from someone than it is to reverse a permit.  . . .   By the way, Brodeur said the city aggressively goes after property owners who use their homes as vacation rentals without getting licenses. He said the city has fined at least two dozen violators in the past two years, including a habitual scofflaw that was eventually fined $90,000.



Pacific Grove residents launch online petition against short-term rentals

Pacific Grove group files initiative to ban short-term rentals

By Carly Mayberry, Monterey Herald

POSTED: 12/28/17, 4:42 PM PST |

Pacific Grove >> A group of Pacific Grove residents have introduced a proposed initiative measure that would prohibit short-term rentals in the city’s residential zones.


The measure, which seeks to “preserve and protect Pacific Grove’s residential character,” was submitted to the city clerk on Dec. 21 by Luke Coletti, Elinora Susan Mantovani and Karin T. Locke. Its purpose is to amend the Pacific Grove General Plan and Municipal Code that currently allows short-term rentals in residential zones outside the Coastal Zone, to provide an 18-month phase-out period for existing permitted short-term rentals that become nonconforming uses under the measure and require voter approval of any changes to the measure.


The filing also included an intent to circulate a petition with the goal of getting the initiative on the November 2018 ballot. In the notice, multiple reasons were stated behind the proposed actions. They included the intent to prohibit short-term rentals in most residential neighborhoods, address the city’s efforts to regulate short-term rentals as unsuccessful and insufficient to curb the negative impacts of such rentals, and to ensure that Pacific Grove has adequate housing for city residents to remain the “city of homes” as provided in the City’s Charter, General Plan and Municipal Code. It also recognized that the city may continue to regulate short-term rentals in the Coastal Zone as long as those regulations protect the community and are consistent with laws administered by the California Coastal Commission. Lastly, it proposed prohibiting short-term rentals in designated residential districts without changing existing rules that permit home-sharing.


While Coletti declined to comment on the filing, City Manager Ben Harvey acknowledged receipt of the proposed initiative by the city clerk and noted it had been sent over to the city attorney’s office.


“They have to review it for completeness,” said Harvey, noting that the proposed initiative is still in its early stages and that a petition first has to be circulated before it can become a ballot measure.


It was just last week that the City Council finally passed the city’s new short-term rental ordinance on a vote of 4-2. After months of revision, the ordinance includes the adoption of a 55-foot zone of exclusion to address density problems and a cap of 250 short-term rentals citywide. Previously, the ordinance was to include an allowance of only 15 percent of housing per block dedicated to short-term rentals but that restriction was thrown out when the incorporation of a lottery system was eliminated. Harvey said that during the long-winded debate about short-term rentals, city staff heard frequently from certain residents that there was going to be a ballot initiative, noting that Coletti had previously come to City Hall as well as to a couple council members about the potential ballot measure.


“It’s not a surprise — we certainly knew he and the others would be filing it and we’ll move it through,” said Harvey.


Carly Mayberry can be reached at 726-4363.


Carly Mayberry, Reporter’s Notebook: Fight over vacation rentals raged in 2017

By Carly Mayberry, Monterey Herald

Posted: 12/30/17, 4:13 PM PST |


Editor’s note: This week Monterey Herald reporters look back on some of the most memorable and important stories they covered in 2017.

Pacific Grove >> The topic of short-term rentals was front and center in the minds of both city officials and Monterey Peninsula residents in 2017, with passionate voices both for and against allowing them, each with valid viewpoints.

While the cities of Monterey and Carmel came out vehemently opposed to them in 2017 — even taking a hard line against violators through the enforcement of hefty fines and in the case of Carmel, filing a lawsuit against a couple for their illegal use of a rental — Pacific Grove remained the only Peninsula city to legally allow them, which it has since 2010. That decision was likely ultimately made because of the approximately $1 million in transient occupancy tax the city couldn’t pass up earning. But in the case of America’s Last Hometown, the choice to continue its short-term rental ordinance after 10 months of meetings did not come without amendments, first readings, second readings, revisions, tearful testimonies and a citizen petition asking that all short-term rentals be owner-occupied.

“We’ve in a way conducted a seven-year experiment and based on the communication of residents, (short-term rentals) have proven to have just the kind of negative impacts that zoning ordinances are created to prevent,” said Councilman Robert Huitt, during a June meeting, which addressed changes to the city’s short-term rental program — changes that were meant to make it simpler and control the density of such units. Both Huitt and Councilman Bill Peake remained opposed to the program through its passage in December. Peake noted how the business model of a short-term rental owner has fundamentally changed from renting their home for two weeks around Classic Car Week to renting out a second property all year long. “Is there some middle ground? I realize that’s just wishful thinking,” he said.

Both of their viewpoints were backed up by stories from P.G. residents about neighborhoods over-saturated with short-term rentals to the point of losing full-time residents because of it. Resident Sarah Boyle described her family “being held hostage in their own home” during Classic Car Week when short-term occupants held loud parties and spewed profanity in front of her children. Others said that short-term rentals were taking away from the very short supply of affordable long-term housing rentals sorely needed on the Peninsula. At the same meeting that Boyle spoke to the council, Pacific Grove Chamber President Moe Ammar for the first time noted publicly the negative impact such rentals have had on the city’s inns and hotels, citing a 17 percent decline in bookings over the past year.

But on the other side of the aisle were those that felt the benefits outweighed the costs — especially for those who depend on revenue from a such a rental to keep them afloat in one of the most expensive areas to reside in the country — whether that’s renting out a room in their house or a full unit.

At one meeting, Annee Martin of Sanctuary Vacation Rentals warned of the danger of creating a statute that takes away citizens’ rights.

“The challenge with an ordinance making short-term rentals illegal is that in my opinion, it’s over-inclusive,” said Martin. “It’s a violation of people’s privacy and impedes people’s attempt to support themselves.”


That’s while other residents espoused the educational opportunity when welcoming vacationers for both residents and visitors.

Monterey County Vacation Rental Alliance President Jan Leasure has gone on record to say that Pacific Grove was the one Peninsula city that’s gotten it right by creating an ordinance to regulate vacation rentals that go on regardless of whether they’re legal or not.

Since that time, city officials eliminated a lottery system that would determine which current applicants would receive future licenses in areas already over-saturated with short-term rentals in an effort not to penalize property owners with the intent to rent that property.

That’s while the city has also solidified an agreement with vacation rental site Airbnb for future collection of the residential transient occupancy tax generated from the program.

In contrast, both the cities of Monterey and Carmel have signed on to use Host Compliance, a company that will assist the cities in monitoring short- term rental compliance and enforcement. Overall, Pacific Grove’s newly-revised ordinance, which was finally passed Dec. 20, includes the adoption of a 55-foot zone of exclusion to address density problems and a cap of 250 short-term rentals citywide.

“With good enforcement, everybody can benefit from (short-term rentals),” said Leasure, at one point during the year-long saga. “What P.G. has done — they’ve created a good ordinance with some teeth in it that provides for regulation and enforcement.”

Those residents lucky enough to live along the shoreline among the historic Victorian homes can now only hope she’s right. They are certain to shun the sound of rolling suitcases from late-night visitors in search of their rental for the night and instead want to hear the sound of ocean waves in America’s Last Hometown.

Carly Mayberry can be reached at 726-4363.

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