Date: July 10, 2018
To: Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission Members
From: Pris Walton, President, Carmel Valley Association
Subject: Short-Term Rental Ordinance.
The Carmel Valley Association has provided previous comments on the draft Short Term Rental Ordinance as it has moved thorough previous workshops. The comments contained in this communication represent the views not only of the Carmel Valley Association, but also a coalition of residents’ associations and individuals from the Carmel Valley, Carmel Highlands, and Mal Paso and Big Sur. CVA has agreed to assume leadership in representing the jointly held views of these associations and organizations and to submit this letter on behalf of the entire coalition (please see signatures below for details on the coalition membership).
We strongly believe that the research, findings and reports on short term rentals from other communities should inform any decisions undertaken by Monterey County. Additionally, local Monterey County contextual facts, limits and constraints need to be considered and inform any decisions made by the Planning Commission.
As the Monterey County Hospitality Association has written:
“The Monterey County Hospitality Association opposes Short Term Rentals (STRs) in Monterey County’s Cities and unincorporated areas due to the negative impact it will have on the following: Protection of community character, particularly single family residential neighborhoods; Impacts on the limited housing stock, especially for medium to low income and workforce housing; Areas of limited resources and constrained infrastructure; Other visitor serving accommodations . . . “
The following factors are critical as you consider what kind of STR ordinance is needed.
* Affordable Housing: STRs and HomeStays encourage the conversion of long term rentals to tourist use, and reduces the supply of affordable, decent, safe, long term housing for people of all income levels. Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles Santa Cruz, Bishop, West Hollywood, and Santa Monica, among others, have passed ordinances limiting STRs to regulated Home Stays because of this undesirable effect.
* STRs and Home Stays negate local Zoning Ordinances. Allowing STRs/Home Stays is the practical equivalent of defacto re-zoning residential areas into commercial visitor serving units. Residentially zoned areas traditionally permit non-intrusive business activity. Examples of such permitted activities are home offices, bookkeeping services, and music instruction. Such services are conducted by owners or residents who live on the property, and generally have a minimal impact on neighborhoods. Allowing non-owner occupied STRs and Home Stays, which are, in essence, hotels in residential areas, is inconsistent with residential zonings, and increases the risk of significant disruption of quiet neighborhoods.
*The Stability of neighborhoods; Rentals affect the essential character of neighborhoods and the stability of communities. As cited in Ewing v. City of Carmel-by-the-Sea, 234 Cal. App. 3d 1579, “Short-term tenants have little interest in public agencies or in the welfare of the citizenry. They do not participate in local government, coach little league, or join the hospital guild. They do not lead a scout troop, volunteer at the library, or keep an eye on an elderly neighbor. Literally, they are here today and gone tomorrow – without engaging in the sort of activities that weld and strengthen a community.”
* Increases Water Use. STRs/Home Stays multiply the numbers of individuals using water, and in turn, overall water use. In an area such as ours with an already inadequate and unsustainable water supply, adding such an additional burden would not be in the interest of Monterey County residents.
* Increases Traffic. The Land Use Plans were carefully calibrated to not overburden infrastructure like roads by limiting the number of homes and visitor serving businesses allowed by the Land Use Plan. The explosion of STRs/Home Stays in excess of those limits has created traffic and other serious problems that harms residents and the licensed visitor serving businesses.
Our Consensus Position
The Carmel Valley Association and the Coalition strongly recommend that Short Term Rentals (STRs) be limited to “Home Stays.” “Home stays” are defined as short-term rentals that are owner occupied and managed. No absentee owners, property management companies, corporations, or LLC’s would be permitted. The owner would be required to be a permanent year round resident, and the home would be his or her primary residence. The owner would be required to live in, and be present on site, during the STR/Home Stay rental period. Owners would be limited to no more than one STR.
The CVA and the aforementioned groups and organizations will support only hosted Home Stays (subject to Visitor Serving Unit Limitations) as defined above with a strong enforcement system, close supervision and accountability. We categorically oppose all non-hosted STR’S.
Specifically, we recommend the following for an STR Ordinance:
1. Owner must be a natural person, or Living Trust for a Natural Person who is a permanent year-round resident, and the home is his or her primary residence.
2. No absentee owners, property management companies, corporations, LLC’s , or other forms of ownership is permitted.
3. The owner be required to live in and be present on site during the STR/Home Stay rental period.
4. The “Home Stay” version of STR must at all times operate as if it were a residence, and not a hotel, party house, special event location, or other use inconsistent with the zoning in which it is located.
5. STR’s (including “Home Stay’s) must, of course, be counted as Visitor Serving Units (VSU’s). Each bedroom of a STR or Home Stay is counted as one VSU (just like for hotels) and must not exceed the remaining limits on the number of new Visitor Serving Units under their Land Use Plans for all areas, including:
⦁ Carmel Area Land Use Plan, Local Coastal Program certiﬁed April 14, 1983. This plan allows for only 28 additional VSU’s, all in the Point Lobos area;
⦁ Big Sur Land Use Plan/Big Sur Coast Planning Area. It is the position of the Big Sur LCP Defense Committee that these plans have no room for STRs and/or Home Stays.
⦁ Carmel Valley Master Plan
6. Effective and veriﬁable self-policing.
a. Monterey County must first complete a study on required personnel and resources to enforce the ordinance, and then provide those resources;
b. Owners must provide multiple forms of proof they are year-round residents; and
c. Electronic evidence available over the internet that they physically resided at the STR during the Home Rental.
d. Veriﬁcation to be done by Monterey County.
e. Licenses for STRs/Home Stays are only valid as long as Monterey County provides the personnel and ﬁnancial resources to enforce the ordinance.
f. If Monterey County fails to provide adequate enforcement resources, STR/Home Stay licenses will be suspended until Monterey County remedies by providing required enforcement resources.
g. The County must adopt pro-active enforcement, using Host Compliance or similar service to locate violators, rather than relying on complaints from residents.
7. No advertising of unpermitted rentals, and Host Compliance or equivalent service is required. Permit numbers must be posted in any ads.
8. The total number of Home Stay guests cannot exceed 2 per the number of permitted bedrooms, less one bedroom for the in-residence owner. If the owner resides with their family a suitable number of bedrooms must be set aside for their use.
9. Rentals for more than 30 days or more are permitted but subject to TOT, if rented for 30 day periods, or periods less than a standard one year lease.
10. Owners would be limited to one STR/Home Stay regardless of an interest in other properties the owner may have in Monterey County.
11. Parking at STR’s/Home Stays must be provided off-street for both visitors and residents.
12. Fires must be limited to existing barbecue pits and ﬁreplaces.
13. STR’s/Home Stays must be spaced at least 1000 feet from each other, and notice of intent by the Planning Commission to permit an STR/Home Stay must be given to all neighbors within a 1,000 foot radius prior to issuance of the permit. If a neighbor objects, a hearing must be scheduled and the objections considered before a permit is issued.
14. As a condition of approving any application for a STR/Home Stay the applicant must provide a letter from the water supplier to that location that there is sufficient water for the maximum possible use of the property; and, the Department responsible for leach field safety states the leach field is adequately sized and properly maintained for the maximum possible use of the property.
15. STR/Home Stays must be completely subject to the rules and restrictions of private roads, and may be banned along such roads.
[Incorporated From the Draft Ordinance Issued by the Planning Commission]
Violation Penalties, Fines, STR’s are a “Nuisance” etc.
16. The remedies provided by this [ordinance] are cumulative and in addition to any other remedies available at law or in equity.
17. It shall be unlawful for any person to violate any provision, or to fail to comply with any of the requirements, of this Chapter. Any person violating any of the provisions or failing to comply with any of the mandatory requirements of this Chapter shall be guilty of an infraction. No proof of knowledge, intent, or other mental state is required to establish a violation.
18. Any condition caused or allowed to exist in violation of any of the provisions of this Chapter shall be deemed a public nuisance and shall, at the discretion of County, create a cause of action for penalty pursuant to Chapters 1.22 of this Code, and any other action authorized by law.
19. Each and every violation of this Chapter shall constitute a separate violation and shall be subject to all remedies and enforcement measures authorized by the Monterey County Code or otherwise authorized by law. Additionally, as a public nuisance, any violation of this Chapter shall be subject to injunctive relief, disgorgement of any payment to the County of any and all monies unlawfully obtained, costs of abatement, costs of restoration, costs of investigation, attorney fees, and any other relief or remedy available at law or in equity. The County may also pursue any and all remedies and actions available and applicable under state and local laws for any violations committed by the STR/Home Stay rental activity or persons related thereto, or associated with, the STR/Home Stay rental activity.
20. For violations of short term/home stay rental codes, an Enforcement Official may issue to a responsible person an administrative citation that imposes:
a. A ﬁne not exceeding four-hundred percent (400%) of the Advertised Rental Rate per day per violation or one thousand dollars ($1000.00) per day per violation for STR/Home Stay rentals without an Advertised Rental Rate for a ﬁrst violation;
b. A ﬁne not exceeding six-hundred percent (600%) of the Advertised Rental Rate per day per violation or two thousand ﬁve hundred dollars ($2500.00) per day per violation for STR/Home Stay rentals without an Advertised Rental Rate for a second violation of the same ordinance within one year; and
c. A ﬁne not exceeding eight-hundred percent (800%) of the Advertised Rental Rate per day per violation or ﬁve thousand dollars ($5000.00) per day per violation for STR/Home Stay rentals without an Advertised Rental Rate for each additional violation of the same ordinance within one year of the ﬁrst violation.
Pris Walton, President, Rich Fox, Vice- President
Mal Paso Creek Property Association
Preserve Carmel Highlands
Gwyn De Amaral