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City attorney creating amendment to short-term rental rules

OCEANSIDE — The city attorney is putting together an amendment that would lift the ban on hosted short-term rentals for panhandle access homes.

The amendment, requested by Deputy Mayor Jack Feller and Councilman Ryan Keim, would allow consideration of a hosted short-term vacation rental permit on lots with non-conforming panhandle access through a conditional use permit (CUP).

The city’s ban on non-hosted short-term rentals on panhandle access lots would remain.

The amendment will be added to Chapter 24 of the City Code, which is the city’s short-term rental ordinance that was approved earlier in June. The ordinance originally passed with a ban on short-term rentals for homes with panhandle access primarily due to safety concerns regarding narrow streets, lack of fire hydrants and overall fire department access to those homes.

The ban affected four hosted short-term rentals and two non-hosted rentals.

Even with such an amendment, it isn’t guaranteed that all of the four hosted short-term rentals that were affected could begin operating legally again. A CUP would be considered on a case-by-case basis through reviews of the property and potential safety concerns.

“I’m still on the fence as to whether it can actually work,” Feller said.

Feller has a few conditions of his own that he wants the CUPs to consider, such as red striping on driveways, requiring the rental to be owner-occupied 100% of the time that a guest would stay there and enough space for two cars to pass at the same time. He also wants to take into consideration suggestions the property owners may have when considering who can get a CUP to operate.

Feller said he would pull the amendment request if the city can’t come to an agreement with property owners.

Council approved creating the amendment 3-1 at its Dec. 4 meeting with Councilwoman Esther Sanchez opposed. Councilman Chris Rodriguez recused himself from the vote.

For Sanchez, the risk to public safety is too great.

Mayor Peter Weiss noted that public safety issues would be looked at through the CUP process.

City Attorney John Mullen told Feller he would try to bring the amendment to Council in 45 days from the Dec. 4 meeting.

“I can’t promise that because we have to go to Planning Commission as well,” Mullen said.