At the end of a lengthy two and a half hour meeting today, the Santa Cruz County Planning Commission voted to delay any approval of enhanced vacation rental restrictions in what they are calling the the Seacliff-Aptos Designated Area (“SADA”).
The council meeting today was well attended by the public, and a number of citizens got up to speak about the proposed changes to the vacation rental ordinance, particularly in respect to SADA. There were some representatives from the Live Oak area to speak of the success the LODA (Live Oak Designated Area) restrictions in that community. Many of those who spoke against the SADA restrictions were from the professional real estate business community, but virtually all of the concerned parties who actually own property in the SADA area were opposed.
There was broad support on the commission for the proposed changes to the vacation rental ordinance that were not particular to the SADA. However, there was a feeling from some on the commission that not enough time had been allowed to receive input from the community regarding the special SADA restrictions, and that the current proposed legislation establishing the SADA vacation rental restrictions should have some changes before it could be approved by the planning commission – or perhaps scrapped all together.
A full recording of today’s meeting is available online:
Recording of 11/12/14 Planning Commission Meeting
What does today’s vote mean? In the words of Kathy Previsich, the Santa Cruz County Planning Commission’s Planning Director:
The version of the ordinance that will be presented to the board of supervisors will be a version that does not talk about a Seacliff-Aptos Designated Area. The present approach will continue to apply in the Seacliff-Aptos Designated Area. We wouldn’t even have the words “SADA” in there. The current regulations as modified by the other tweaks to the ordinance with regards to contact information or any of those other tweaks. That would go to the board of supervisors for action and onto the coastal commission for its consideration relative to …. so early in 2015 staff will do further analysis, read through all your testimony and letters and propose some alternate approaches which could include not having any special regulations for SADA or having the SADA map be different to carve out areas that are very concentrated already with vacation rentals and potentially to establish some streets that would be a higher percentage rather than 20, could be 50%, we’ll have a variety of approaches and basically talk about those through community workshops and receive your feedback on which approach might work in the Seacliff-Aptos area, sort of like what we did when we first adopted the vacation rental ordinance, we got a lot of feedback, we continue to make adjustments and refinements to reflect all the feedback we got and get to a consensus, compromise approach. But, based on experience we’ll want to make some tweaks, and one of those tweaks may be an extension of the live oak approach to the Seacliff-Aptos area but we’ll continue that dialog.
It should be noted that this is merely the recommendation to the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, and the debate will be taken up by the Board of Supervisors at their next meeting on December 16. The Board may not agree with the planning commission’s recommendation. The board will have to agree that they want planning staff to continue to work with the community on the issue.
Concerned citizens are encouraged to continue to monitor the situation and be in touch with their representative on the Board of Supervisors, and should plan to attend the Board of Supervisors meeting on December 16. As always, keep reading Aptos Community News for the latest information.