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The Oceanside Planning Commission recommends banning new non-hosted short-term rentals permits in R-1 residential areas west of Coast Highway. Courtesy photo
The Oceanside Planning Commission recommends banning new non-hosted short-term rentals permits in R-1 residential areas west of Coast Highway. Courtesy photo
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Planning Commission suggests short-term rental limits in coastal zone

OCEANSIDE — Following input from over 50 public speakers expressing divided opinions on the future of short-term rentals in the city, the Planning Commission has proposed a ban on additional non-hosted rentals in R-1-zoned residential areas west of Coast Highway 101.

This recommendation comes after the Oceanside City Council’s decision in December to prohibit further non-hosted STRs outside the coastal zone. Simultaneously, the council directed staff to amend the city’s vacation rental regulations, restricting additional non-hosted units in the coastal zone to only the residential tourist (RT) zoning district.

Presenting two options to the Planning Commission on March 25, staff recommended the first option, which would allow 50 more non-hosted permits west of Coast Highway in all residential zones, subject to a cap of 505 permits (currently at 455). Additionally, this option proposes a cap of five bedrooms for vacation rental units in R-1 neighborhoods.

The second option would have limited new non-hosted rentals to units in RT and Subdistrict D-4A zones without a cap on permits or bedroom restrictions.

Ultimately, the Planning Commission devised a third option, permitting new STRs without a cap or bedroom limit in the coastal zone west of Coast Highway, with the exception of R-1 neighborhoods. This recommendation includes additional measures such as noise-monitoring devices and cameras to regulate STR activity.

Residents filled the council chambers at Oceanside City Hall during the commission’s meeting. The room was split in terms of what the public wanted. 

On one side, dozens of coastal residents wanted stricter regulations and bans on STRs in their neighborhoods. Many of these residents have organized under the newly formed Neighborhoods for Neighbors group in an effort to stop “corporate STRs.”

Several people emphasized how “party houses” and “mini-hotels” have ruined their neighborhoods with excessive noise, parking issues and suspicious activity.

“I’ve seen our neighborhood evaporate over the last five to 10 years as corporations have been allowed to move in and permanent residents have dwindled,” said Phil Schneider. “When we moved here, everyone was a permanent resident. Now, there’s little sense of neighborhood and a place of belonging.”

On the other side were people who either owned or were involved in an STR business somewhere in the coastal zone. Many noted they were also Oceanside residents, despite some claims from the other side suggesting they lived elsewhere.

Mark Warr, Oceanside resident and owner of On-the-Sand Vacation Rentals, said his business is a good player, contributing nearly $500,000 in transient occupancy tax (TOT) to the city last year. 

Warr said he was not aware of any complaints from the city in the last 25 years until one he received in the last month that alleged there was child trafficking occurring at one of his rentals. He noted the timing was suspicious, given the recent formation of the Neighborhoods for Neighbors group.

“It was just a family here for a soccer tournament,” he said.

Others noted that most of the coastal community supported STRs next door based on the letters of support the city received. 

Commissioner John Malik explained that the Planning Commission was trying to be fair to both sides in its recommendation and reminded people to share their concerns with the City Council when they make the final decision.

“The City Council needs to understand where you stand as well,” Malik said. “They don’t always agree with or listen to us, but we’re trying to be fair and impartial and ensure the needs of the community across the board are met.”

The City Council will address the issue of non-hosted STRs at a later session.

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