Letter: Council’s decision to ban STRs from residential areas protects residents
To the editor,
Your editorial on vacation rentals (June 10) perpetuates the fallacy that prohibiting non-hosted short-term rentals (STRs) in the R-1 (single-family) zone somehow strips owners of their property rights. Business use is not a right in the R-1 zone. By arguing that STRs create “competition,” you acknowledge STRs are businesses.
Residents who purchased a home in the R-1 zone have a right not to live next door to a transient occupancy business. Existing zoning laws prohibit “any structure, or portion of any structure, which is occupied or intended or designed for occupancy by transients for dwelling, lodging or sleeping purposes” for thirty days or less in R-1 zones. (Municipal Code 5.06.020).
The City Council appropriately rejected the recommendation of the short-term rental task force which may allow existing rentals to continue in perpetuity. In addition to a “grandfather clause” which would allow existing rentals to continue for three years with no effective plan to reduce the number of R-1 rentals, the task force proposed a “sunset clause” causing the ordinance to expire in three years. As a result, in three years, we’ll have bigger problems. We’ll have the same number of rentals (12% of homes on the west side) but no law to regulate them.
With new hotels and vacation rentals in other zones, our tourist economy can grow without destroying our quality of life. The City Council must ban non-hosted vacation rentals in the R-1 zone and bring this divisive problem to a final resolution to protect the health, safety, comfort and general welfare of this community.
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