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.
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:
- 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.
The next formal step in the STR Ordinance preparation process will be to hold hearings and present the Draft Ordinances to the County Planning Commission. The matter is tentatively scheduled to be heard by the Planning Commission on Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 8:30 am. The hearing will be held in the Board of Supervisors’ Hearing Room in the Hall of Justice at 800 South Victoria Avenue, Ventura, CA. The public is invited to attend the hearing and provide testimony; also, as noted above, written comments can be submitted up until the hearing date. Once the amendments have been reviewed and approved by the Planning Commission, they will be brought forward to the Board of Supervisors for consideration and final adoption.
Previous Activities/BackgroundIn 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 significant 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:
- The quality of life of the neighborhood, and the reasonable expectation of neighbors to enjoy their homes, must be maintained;
- The supply of housing for purchase and/or long-term rental should not be significantly reduced; and
- Short-term rental units should enhance the local economy.
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.