Del Mar council majority supports bill on short-term rentals

A majority of Del Mar City Council members agreed this week to support state legislation that would allow San Diego-area coastal cities to establish limits on short-term vacation rentals of residences.

Encinitas Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath wrote AB 1731, which was expected to be voted on by the Assembly in Sacramento as soon as Wednesday, May 22 (after press time for this newspaper). If passed, the bill would then advance to the Senate floor.

The proposed law would allow year-round short-term rentals of homes where the owner lives on the premises.

Residences owned by absentee landlords would be limited to short-term rentals for 30 days out of the year. The bill also would permit cities to adopt stricter regulations.

In part, AB 1731 is similar to an ordinance approved by the Del Mar council that limited short-term rentals in residential areas to 28 days per year and required a minimum of seven-day stays per rental.

Del Mar is among popular destinations throughout the state that are attempting to limit short-term rentals made available through websites such as Airbnb. Jurisdictions often receive complaints from residents about noise, rowdiness and reduced parking resulting from the rentals.

The California Coastal Commission, however, blocked Del Mar’s ordinance and the city is challenging the commission’s action in court.

Boerner Horvath’s bill would presumably override the commission’s stance against Del Mar’s restrictions.

Councilmembers Ellie Haviland, Dwight Worden and Sherryl Parks voted Monday, May 20, to send a letter of support in favor of the bill, while Councilwoman Terry Gaasterland opposed the letter. Mayor Dave Druker, who wanted the letter to be revised, abstained from the vote.

Communications received by the city shortly before the meeting mostly opposed support for the bill, based on the idea that it would compromise local government control and would limit the ability of landowners to profit from their property.