Oceanside City Council continues debate over short-term rentals

Oceanside City Council continues debate over short-term rentals

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (FOX 5/KUSI) — The battle over short-term rentals in Oceanside continues after city leaders voted 4 to 1 in favor of amendments to its short-term rental policies.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the Oceanside City Council decided the future of short-term rentals in the coastal zone of the vibrant North County community.

“It’s somewhere that people from around not just in California but around the country around the world look to for a vacation destination,” shared resident Paul Devito, who is also a member of the Oceanside Short Term Rental Alliance.

An ordinance to restrict the number of vacation rentals has been in the works since last year, joining other cities like Del Mar who have sought to add to their housing stock by cracking down on these accommodations.

Wednesday evening, leaders gave the greenlight in restricting beachfront stays by allowing 25 more vacation rental permits for any area within the city’s coastal zone. However, this excludes the city’s residential single family neighborhood zone within the coastal zone of South Oceanside.

According to city records, there are little more than a thousand licensed short-term rentals throughout Oceanside — a little more than 700 of which are in the area the city defines as the “coastal zone,” running along South Pacific Avenue.

Proponents of some measure to rein in vacation rentals argue it could alleviate some of the pressure pushing up rents in the area.

“You have the opportunity tonight to choose homes and neighborhoods filmed with homes and long-term tenants over party houses and prophets,” said long-time resident Deborah Stern at Wednesday’s city council meeting.

Opponents, however, argue it could take away from local revenue generated by visitors staying in these accommodations.

“By reducing the quantity and putting a cap on permit holders, guests who would like to stay in Oceanside are going to have to look to other cities like Encinitas, Carlsbad, because there won’t be enough accommodations,” Nick Foster said. “That will negatively impact local businesses and the city of Oceanside.”

Foster is president of HAUSTAY Vacation Rentals, a company managing 12 short-term properties in Oceanside. He says if the council decides to limit the number of vacation rental units it would have unintended, detrimental impacts on the city and its residents.

“It’s upsetting a lot of the locals — whether it’s vacation rental permit holders, property, managers, even local businesses like restaurants and retail and whale watching tours,” he said.

The proposed changes also put a cap of around 470 non-hosted rentals, meaning the owner doesn’t live in the home or lives there for less than six months per year.

The changes also include two new categories of fines: threats to public safety or running a vacation rental without a permit. This could lead to penalties anywhere from $100 to $1,000.

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