Santa Cruz County Planning Further Vacation Rental Restrictions

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Santa Cruz County Seal

Santa Cruz County Seal

Despite a large number of serious problems (homelessness, traffic, addiction, just to name a few) affecting the quality of life of everyone in Santa Cruz county, the Santa Cruz County Planning Commission is busily at work cooking up new and largely unnecessary vacation rental restrictions.

These additional restrictions will do nothing to alleviate the crushing housing availability and affordability problems we’re facing. Furthermore, it seems that nobody outside of County planning department staff (and perhaps a limited number of disgruntled neighbors) are actually calling for further vacation rental restrictions.  Nevertheless, a new ordinance is in the works and will be coming up for a vote of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors next month.

The proposed ordinance from the planning department staff on short term vacation rentals includes:

  1. Categorizing hosted rentals that have more than one bedroom available to qualify as bed and breakfasts inn, in which case the host would have to obtain a conditional permit under existing county code provisions.
  2. Making sure property owners obtain permits to host (i.e. even for renting out individual rooms)
  3. Limiting guests to one parking space
  4. Limit guest occupancy to 3 people per property excluding those under 8 years old
  5. Limit the number of nights a host can operate to no more than 55 nights per year in the three designated areas of Live Oak, Seacliffs/Aptos, and Davenport-Swanton area and no more than 110 nights in the rest of the county
  6. Places no limits on the number of permits available in a neighborhood (except where limits are already in place).
  7. Require annual reporting by hosts and annual renewal of permits
  8. The prohibition of ADUs, affordable housing, RVs, units occupied by long term rentals as a hosted rental
  9. Only permitting one guest rental per parcel (e.g. both units in a duplex could not be rented as vacation rentals)
  10. Allow only a single stay of up to 7 days per year without the requirement for a permit
  11. Require operators to obtain a TOT (Transient Occupancy tax) number from the County tax collector and to ensure TOT is paid

The County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on the ordinance at their upcoming meeting on December 5th, 2017.  Concerned citizens should contact their Supervisor and make sure their voice are heard.

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