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Condo-owners ask for short-term rental revision

CARLSBAD— After hearing complaints from a group of about a dozen condominium owners, City Council has decided to revisit the short-term vacation rental regulations early.

In April, the council voted to ban rentals in more than half the city after hearing a robust public outcry against them.

The council only denied them in the eastern portion of the city because councilmembers thought they’d face opposition from the Coastal Commission if they tried to ban them in the coastal zone.

Historically, the Coastal Commission has fought and won against local cities trying to ban the rentals.

On June 23, condo owners of the Chateau properties, which are in the Omni La Costa Resort, told the council the ordinance is devaluing their properties because they can no longer legally rent out their condos to visitors.

The Chateaus consists of two buildings, totaling 96 units. Most are about 791 square feet.

Michael Kim, who owns a condo in the Balboa Building, said the regulations on short-term rentals have had negative side effects on condo owners.
He said the condos were never meant to be used as residential homes and are not surrounded by homes.

“These buildings are located in a resort property in a resort setting,” Kim said.

He said the nearest homes are the equivalent of about six football fields away.

Condo owners spoke against the short-term rental ordinance that bans vacation rentals in the Chateau properties.

Many said the buildings have been designated as short-term rentals since they were built decades ago.

Kim said the ordinance has brought down his property’s value.

He estimated a $100,000 loss in equity because of the ordinance.

Another condo-owner and real estate agent, Roberta Murphy, agreed the value is being affected.

“I had an offer last year for $400,000. I don’t think I would come anywhere near that today,” said Murphy.

She said the condo buildings have always been an extension of the resort.

“They were never intended to be full-time units,” said Roberta Murphy. “We’re truly treated as an auxiliary to the hotel.”

Scott Murphy, who lives in a Chateau condo full-time, said the majority of short-term renters he meets are quiet.

“Most of the short term tenants I meet seem to be quiet retirees or (are there for) the Chopra Center,” said Murphy.

The Chopra Center inside the resort is a health and wellness retreat founded by Deepak Chopra focused on meditation and the connection between the mind and body.

When the council made the decision in April about short-term rentals they heard from one resident of the Chateaus who said the buildings are used as permanent homes.

Councilman Mark Packard said he wants to see concrete data of how many people live in the condos full time.

“My main concern is we’ve heard conflicting testimony on some of these different points as to the residency status of these units,” Packard said.

The council asked Kim to meet with the Homeowners Association and have condo-owners sign a petition.
The short-term rental ordinance was originally slated to be reviewed a year after its adoption but the council agreed to hear from the condo-owners sooner.

Once they come back with a petition, the council will hear from them again and possibly revise the ordinance to exclude the buildings from the short-term vacation rental ban.