Tuesday, February 20 , 2018, 12:31 pm | Fair 55º


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Santa Barbara County Planning Commission Favors Banning Short-Term Vacation Rentals in Neighborhoods

Commissioners might consider exception for agricultural zones but want short-term rentals away from residential zones in unincorporated county areas

All residential zones should be free of short-term vacation rentals, according to the majority of the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission, which this week decided against making an exception for unincorporated county areas historically housing this type of rentals.

Commissioners met for a second time Wednesday to discuss prohibiting the growing practice of renting a room or home for fewer than 30 consecutive days in the county from the Santa Maria Valley down to Carpinteria.

The commission voted 3-2 to have staff prepare a draft ordinance banning such rentals and home stays in residential zones, with commissioners Daniel Blough and Larry Ferini opposed.

A home stay is a unit rented with the property owner present throughout the stay.

Ferini was absent last time commissioners took up the issue. Back then, Commissioner Michael Cooney suggested allowing the rental practice in Miramar Beach near Montecito or Padaro Lane in Carpinteria.

The majority of commissioners brushed that idea aside this week, but a unanimous vote did come down to further study how other areas deal with short-term rentals in agricultural zones — such as those in Santa Ynez Valley with multiple acres between a rental unit and a road or neighbor.

Jessica Metzger, an associate county planner, said that information would be ready for a subsequent meeting Feb. 24.

“Once they make a decision on that information, we’ll come back to them again with actual ordinances,” she said.

Recommendations from the County Planning Commission and the Montecito Planning Commission — also in favor of banning short-term rentals in residential zones — will go before the County Board of Supervisors sometime this spring for a final decision.

Supervisors directed county planners earlier this year to host public workshops, gathering input so officials could create a zoning ordinance on the subject.

To date, the term “short-term vacation rental” doesn’t exist in county books.

The county has been requiring rentals to register and pay transient occupancy taxes regardless, collecting nearly $1.4 million in such levies in the 2014-15 fiscal year, according to County Treasurer-Tax Collector records.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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