Monterey County Planning Commission

Members of the Monterey County Planning Commission during their meeting on Nov. 29.

In a daylong meeting Nov. 29, the Monterey County Planning Commission tackled the short-term rental issue, going through a point-by-point analysis of a potential draft ordinance. 

The county has been working on a short-term rental ordinance for more than three years, and though there are passionate advocates on both sides of the issue—some would like a permissive ordinance, others would like STR's banned outright—there was an overarching spirit of compromise at the Nov. 29 meeting and an appreciation of the county's delicate position. 

Notably, how the ordinance would apply to Big Sur was left out of the discussion at the meeting, as many Big Sur residents have not been able to engage in the issue over the course of the year due to road closures created by mudslides. As a result, the county will tackle Big Sur's ordinance separately. 

Melanie Beretti, a manager with the county Resource Management Agency, has been working on the issue since 2015, and has convened several meetings since involving stakeholders on all sides. 

She told the planning commissioners that STR's are the only way some residents are able to afford staying in their homes, and that the proposed ordinance aims to "help residents stay in their homes, and help residents benefit from this sharing economy without incentivizing non-residents from coming in an making this as a business."

Other county planners noted that processing a use permit application costs the county about $6,000 as it's reviewed by five different costs as it's reviewed by five different county departments, and it was suggested only short-term rental owners who rent out a home that is not their primary residence be required to get use permit, as opposed to merely a license. 

After hearing wide-ranging feedback from the commission, Beretti said she would flesh out some nuances that commissioners wanted more clarity on, like regulations about on-street parking, private roads and the county's means of enforcing the ordinance. 

Beretti told the commissioners she hopes to present them with a draft ordinance to consider sometime in spring, after ensuring it's consistent with the various land use plans in the county's jurisdiction. 

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(2) comments

Leigh Fitz

A $6000 fee makes this a waste of time. Locals who need the STR income to survive don't HAVE $6000 - they are renting out their spare bedrooms in order to get by, remember??

Ken M.

Have been following closely and while I dont agree with everything, the process seems to be fair. Ms Beretti is doing a fantastic job regardless of your stance.

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