OCEANSIDE — The city has banned any new non-hosted, short-term vacation rentals in non-coastal neighborhoods and is looking to expand the embargo to include most residential areas, including homes near the beach.
On Dec. 20, the City Council approved staff’s recommendation to ban short-term vacation rentals in areas outside of the city’s designated coastal zone with a few changes, limiting the ban to only new non-hosted rentals — when no owner or tenant occupies the space — and rentals in residentially zoned areas outside the coastal zone.
For now, the prohibition won’t impact a majority of the city’s short-term vacation rentals, which are located near the coastline. However, the council also directed staff to quickly return with a plan to halt all non-hosted vacation rentals in residential areas throughout the city, including the coastal zone, with the exception of the city’s only residential tourist (RT) designated area.
Although the RT district is located within the city’s coastal zone, it does not encompass the entire coastal designated area.
“I have and continue to be opposed to short-term rentals in residential zones,” said Councilmember Peter Weiss, who put forth the motion.
The change to limit STRs in the coastal area would require the city to approve a local coastal program amendment, requiring the California Coastal Commission’s final approval.
The Planning Commission previously rejected the city’s proposal to ban all vacation rentals outside of the coastal zone, as several commissioners felt the move did not go far enough.
While several members of the public supported citywide restrictions on short-term rentals, they wanted the coastal zone to be part of that ban.
“This item doesn’t make sense if we’re not addressing STRs in the coastal zone,” said Oceanside resident Mitch Silverstein.
Residents have complained of parking issues, noise, littering and other problems stemming from alleged “party houses” that seem to go unpenalized by code enforcement. Others said that short-term vacation rentals take away from local housing and drive up rental prices, according to some studies.
‘“We’re losing housing on the coast,” said local attorney Marco Gonzalez. “Banning short-term vacation rentals only in the non-coastal zone, which has less than a third of the city’s short-term vacation rentals, will not do anything to move the needle on housing.”
There are currently 1,002 registered STRs in the city, with 719 located in the coastal zone.
The city first adopted its ordinance regulating STRs in 2019, requiring a permit for the rental of rooms or dwellings for less than 30 straight days plus annual inspections, occupancy limits and transient occupancy tax (TOT) to be paid by guests.
Last year, Oceanside raked in $11 million from TOT collections. The vast majority of those funds – $8 million – came from STRs.
The earliest staff could return with an item that includes banning STRs in the coastal zone would be either late February or March.