SAN RAFAEL, CA — The Marin County Board of Supervisors has adopted a new set of rules for short-term rentals, like those reserved via Airbnb and VRBO, including a countywide limit of 1,200 licenses.
The update builds on the original set of regulations passed in 2018 and applies to most properties primarily used for stays of 30 days or less. County officials said Thursday’s public meeting at the Marin County Civic Center lasted more than five hours.
The board worked off a set of recommendations provided by staffers, settling on a slightly higher overall limit than suggested, and outlining a few community-specific guidelines for areas that are popular vacation spots.
“Most of West Marin with the exception of Dillon Beach and the Seadrift portion of Stinson Beach would be limited to the number of STRs registered in 2022,” the county wrote Friday. “The majority of Marin’s licensed STRs are in West Marin, especially an area called the Coastal Zone where 11% of all homes are used as STRs.”
The board said its goal was to balance the financial benefits of tourism with a crisis-level shortage of workforce housing. The county also sought to cut down on neighbor complaints about noise, trash and parking near short-term rentals and to keep regulations in line with the state’s Coastal Act.
Here are a few highlighted changes from the county:
- STRs are limited to one per operator.
- Licenses must be renewed by property owners every two years.
- A one-time ownership transfer of an STR can be made at any time.
- Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) built in 2020 or later cannot be used as STRs, consistent with state law.
- Muir Woods Park, located off Panoramic Drive on the slopes of Mount Tamalpais, was added to the list of community specific caps; the current number of 19 STRs will serve as the maximum.
- No more than 50% of developed properties can be used as STRs in Dillon Beach and Seadrift, communities that by far have a higher percentage of STRs.
The county’s Community Development Agency said the ordinance will prompt amendments to the Local Coastal Program for properties within the coastal zone, which must be approved by a state commission later in the year.
“This feels like the right move as we offer something consistent that the Coastal Commission might support,” said Sarah Jones, the CDA’s director. “The updated ordinance should balance competing interests by creating a regulatory framework. New common-sense standards should reduce neighborhood impacts and help preserve existing housing as housing for the workforce.”