No new short-term rentals in Del Mar for now

The City of Del Mar renewed its ban on new short-term vacation rentals in the city, while working on a comprehensive set of rules that would delineate where and how local property owners could rent their homes to vacationers in the beach-side community.

At its meeting on Monday, Dec. 5, the council passed an urgency ordinance, by a 5-0 vote, that bans any new short-term rentals (less than 30 days) in the city for the next 45 days. The ordinance does not prevent property owners who are currently using their homes for short-term rentals from continuing the practice.

A previous moratorium on new rentals expired Dec. 1. City officials said they needed to renew the moratorium to preserve the "status quo" while the permanent rules are being devised. The issue is expected to come back before the council within the next couple of months.

Councilman Dwight Worden said he would not be in favor of extending the moratorium beyond February.

"By the end of February I think we need to have it done," Worden said.

Short-term rentals through such services as Airbnb and VRBO.com have become controversial across the country in recent years. The issue pits the rights of property owners to generate income with those of nearby residents, who have complained of noise, parking problems and other issues arising from the short-term rentals.

In California, the state's Coastal Commission has frowned on outright bans of the short-term rentals, considering them to be a way of promoting beach access, since they are often more affordable than hotels.

In justification for Del Mar's moratorium on new rentals, an agenda report said the city has received "numerous complaints" about noise, parking, refuse and the disruption of continuity in the neighborhoods where short-term rentals are located.

A report prepared for a previous meeting said there were 143 rentals listed on Airbnb and VRBO in Del Mar.

Council members said it will be challenging to craft rules that protect both property rights and quality of life for all parties.

"This is a very tough issue," said Councilman Terry Sinnott.

"I'm assuming we may end up in court here no matter what we do," Worden said.

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