Review & Development of Short-Term Rental Regulations

In recent years there has been a steady and significant increase in the operation of short-term rentals (STRs) across the country. This has been fueled, in part, by the rise in new on-line hosting platforms and other websites devoted to the marketing and management of STRs. This growth has raised concerns within many communities, including those within unincorporated Ventura County. In response to these concerns, the Board of Supervisors in 2015 directed staff begin evaluating STRs and their impacts upon the community.

Current Activities

At its December 13, 2016 meeting, the Board of Supervisors concluded a two-day hearing regarding STRs and the options available for regulating them in the unincorporated areas of Ventura County. At the close of the hearing, the Board directed staff to begin work on developing Zoning Ordinance Amendments that would establish permitting requirements and standards for STRs. To guide staff in this effort, the Board provided the following direction regarding the content of the amendments:

Ojai Valley

  • Look at defining the “Ojai Valley” more broadly than the traffic impact area
  • Permit “homeshare” rentals only with ministerial permits (no waivers)
  • Develop a program to amortize existing registered STRs
  • Carve out an exception to allow STRs on historic properties

Remainder of County

  • Permit STRs and Homeshares with ministerial permits (no waivers)

In addition to the above, the Board directed that for all areas within unincorporated Ventura County, the amendments include strict standards and regulations to address nuisance issues (e.g., noise, parking, events) and they include a robust and effective enforcement and penalty program.

County staff is beginning work on the zoning ordinance amendments and throughout their development will provide information and updates on this web page, as well as reach out to stakeholders via e-mail. If you would like to be added to the County’s e-mail list, please contact us at strcomments@ventura.org.

Once draft zoning ordinance amendments have been prepared by staff, the next formal step in the process will be to hold hearings before the County Planning Commission. There is no timetable set for those hearings, although effort will be made to hold them in late 2017. Once the amendments have been reviewed and approved by the Planning Commission, they will be brought to the Board of Supervisors for consideration and final adoption. If you would like to share your written comments or other information related to STRs during this process, please do not hesitate to submit them at strcomments@ventura.org. Thank you.

Previous Activities/Background

In July, 2015 the Board of Supervisors directed County staff to study the issue of residential dwelling units used as short-term vacation rentals. In December, 2015, County staff returned with a report outlining the status and issues associated with STRs in unincorporated Ventura County. The Board received the report and public testimony from a number of residents. The Board then directed that staff return with a more detailed report and present it as part of a public workshop on this issue.

To guide staff in its preparation of the report, the Board articulated three objectives for the regulation of short-term rentals, in the following priority order:

  1. The quality of life of the neighborhood, and the reasonable expectation of neighbors to enjoy their homes, must be maintained;
  2. The supply of housing for purchase and/or long-term rental should not be significantly reduced; and
  3. Short-term rental units should enhance the local economy.

County staff prepared and presented the report to the Board of Supervisors at their meeting on August 2, 2016. A copy of the report can be found here. The public was invited to review and comment on the report and the STR issue in general and the Board received numerous written comments. A copy of the Board agenda item and the comments received can be found by clicking here. At that same location you will also find a copy of the staff presentation (PowerPoint) from that Board of Supervisors’ meeting.

At their August 2, 2016 meeting, the Board of Supervisors took action to direct County staff to develop and bring back to the Board recommendations related to a clearer definition of “short term vacation rental” as well as an assessment of potential options for permitting ‘homeshares”, permitting of STRs with waivers, Homeowner Association involvement in the permitting process, and recognizing the unique nature of different communities and neighborhoods. County staff prepared its analysis of these issues and provided options and recommendations in a report that was presented to the Board of Supervisors on November 15, 2016. Click here to view the report.