Short Term Rentals
The creation of new STR regulations is a City Council priority special project. This project initially began in 2016 and has involved several California Coastal Commission (CCC) actions, legal challenges, and enforcement considerations as well as processing delays due to the timing of court decisions rendered during the COVID-19 pandemic. Work on this special project resumed in January 2023 with the following actions having occurred to date:
- On July 10, 2023, the City Council requested the desire to establish guiding principles and objectives to develop STR regulations and receive information regarding the City’s current zoning and Local Coastal Program (LCP) regulations that relate to STRs at the July 24, 2023, Council meeting.
- On July 24, 2023, the City Council determined the initial eleven guiding principles and objectives for development of new STR regulations and added a 12th guiding principle during the City Council meeting on September 5, 2023.
- On September 5, 2023, the City Council received a presentation of past Coastal Commission actions, court decisions, and legal parameters to help guide community discussions relating to new STR regulations.
- On October 2, 2023, the City Council discussed regulatory framework examples and provided policy direction for new STR regulations. Staff will return to City Council for additional policy direction prior to processing of a draft ordinance in early 2024.
COUNCIL GUIDING PRINCIPLES & OBJECTIVES FOR NEW STR REGULATIONS
- Honor the existing policies in the Del Mar Community Plan.
- Maintain the residential character of neighborhoods in residential zones.
- Honor the tradition of vacation rentals during the summers, holidays, and horse-racing season.
- Ensure the protection of the public health, safety, and general welfare.
- Ensure the City’s natural resources will be preserved and protected.
- Ensure STRs will not overburden public improvements, facilities, and services.
- Minimize adverse impacts to adjacent private properties and the surrounding neighborhood.
- Consider distribution and concentration of STRs throughout the community.
- Craft regulations that are easy to understand and implement.
- Communicate expectations for civil conduct in line with “good neighbor” policies.
- Establish enforcement protocols, and ensure regulation of short-term rentals is, at a minimum, revenue neutral to the City.
- Work towards a solution for STRs that works for Del Mar and will pass muster with the Coastal Commission.
SHORT-TERM RENTAL REGISTRY
The City has launched a voluntary registry of short-term rentals which is intended to help determine the actual number of existing STR units in the City of Del Mar. Any owner of a short-term rental operating within the past 10 years is encouraged to register before December 5, 2023. The information collected WILL NOT be used for code enforcement purposes. The information will only be used for STR regulation and policy development purposes. Having an understanding of existing STRs in Del Mar is particularly important based on the Council's expressed interest to accommodate existing STRs as part of whatever regulations and policies are ultimately adopted.
EXISTING REGULATIONS FOR SHORT TERM RENTALS (STRs)
Currently, short term rental operations are only permitted in the Residential-Commercial (RC) zone and the Visitor Commercial (VC) zone and where otherwise provided for by development entitlement (i.e. Wave Crest Time Shares, Hotel Specific Plan, and the 941 Camino del Mar Specific Plan). STRs are not permitted in residential zones.
Title 30 of the Del Mar Municipal Code sets forth the City’s zoning code requirements. The Title 30 regulations and associated maps applicable to base zones, overlay zones, permit types, public access, and coastal resources comprise the City’s certified LCP implementing ordinances. Until new STR regulations are adopted and become effective, new STRs are only an allowed use in commercial zones including the Residential Commercial (RC), Central Commercial (CC), North Commercial (NC), Professional Commercial (PC), Visitor Commercial (VC), Hotel Specific Plan, and 941 Camino del Mar Specific Plan zones; and as provided for by development entitlement (i.e., Wave Crest Resort Time Shares and L’Auberge Vacation Villas). STRs are currently not an allowed use in any residential zones.
BACKGROUND/ACCOMODATION FOR EXISTING STRs UNTIL NEW REGULATIONS TAKE EFFECT
This City Council priority special project began in 2016 and has involved several California Coastal Commission (CCC) actions, legal challenges, and enforcement considerations as well as processing delays due to the timing of the final court decisions rendered during the COVID-19 pandemic, which required the City Council to postpone work on a new STR ordinance and direct the City’s limited resources to address the highest priority public health and safety issues and legal mandates.
After experiencing a significant increase in the number of STRs operating in residential zones, on April 4, 2016, the City Council adopted a moratorium on new STRs in residential zones and provided for existing, non-conforming STRs to temporarily continue to operate while new regulations are processed. The moratorium ended on November 6, 2017 (when Ordinance 934 was adopted). The moratorium was replaced with a Council-adopted forbearance policy to accommodate STRs in operation prior to April 4, 2016, until new STR regulations take effect (see forbearance discussion below).
November 6, 2017 – The City Council adopted Ordinance 934 to establish new STR regulations. This ordinance, also referred to as the “7/28 Ordinance”, never took effect because Zoning/Local Coastal Program Amendments require CCC certification per the California Coastal Act in order to take effect.
June 7, 2018 – After the CCC conditionally certified Ordinance 934 in June 2018, the City processed an extension. However, while the City was waiting for final resolution of litigation, the conditional approval expired on December 13, 2019.
February 7, 2021 – The court dismissed the final case (City of Del Mar v. California Coastal Commission) because the CCC’s conditional approval had expired.
The forbearance policy was adopted by Council Resolution 2017-71 on November 6, 2017, to accommodate STRs in operation prior to April 4, 2016, until new STR regulations take effect. The forbearance has been consistently applied, enforced, and maintained:
|Nov. 6, 2017||Adopted new STR Ordinance 934 and Resolution 2017-71 to establish Forbearance Policy|
|Sep. 4, 2018||Approved six-month extension to March 2019 (Resolution 2018-61)|
|Feb. 11, 2019||Approved one-year extension to February 2020 (Resolution 2019-09)|
|Feb. 3, 2020||Approved one-year extension to February 2021 (Resolution 2020-05)|
|Feb. 1, 2021||Approved two-year extension to February 2023 (Resolution 2021-04)|
|Jan. 23, 2023||Approved two-year extension to January 2025 (Resolution 2023-02)|