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Santa Barbara Supervisors Rethink Short-Term Rental Rules in Coastal Zone

After the California Coastal Commission voted not to certify Santa Barbara County’s plan for short-term rentals and homestays in the coastal zone, the Board of Supervisors may decide to grandfather in existing short-term rentals that pay transient occupancy taxes.

The supervisors have banned short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods, including in the coastal zone, but allowed homestays in residential and some agricultural zones. They also adopted a historic overlay allowing short-term rentals for the Miramar Beach area in Montecito.

The Coastal Commission didn’t certify the county’s proposed Local Coastal Program Amendment with regulations for short-term rentals and homestays, and said the changes would reduce the existing stock of visitor accommodations in the coastal areas of the county.

When the county passed regulations in October, staff said there were about 530 TOT certificates in the county and the new ordinance would make only 29 of them legal and conforming uses.

Short-term rentals contributed more than $1.8 million in TOT to the county in the 2017-18 fiscal year.

The supervisors are trying again for coastal zone regulations, and on Tuesday asked staff to work up language allowing existing short-term rentals/homestays that have been paying TOT to the county.

Supervisors Joan Hartmann, Das Williams and Janet Wolf voted in favor, and supervisors Peter Adam and Steve Lavagnino voted against the motion.

Short-term rental owners and property managers speaking at Tuesday's hearing asked the board to allow the rentals in residential zones with fair regulations, and argued that many families and visitors want privacy and prefer STRs to owner-occupied homestays.

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli 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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