With little fanfare, the City Council voted Tuesday to permanently ban residential vacation rentals in Seal Beach.
The 5-0 vote makes it illegal to rent out a residential property for 29 days or less – called a short-term rental or a vacation rental -- for any purpose in the city.
The move caps off years of tension between residents who say the practice brings money to the local economy and is a property owner’s right and neighbors who say vacationers are bringing crime, pollution and rowdy parties into the normally quiet beachfront hamlet. The ban does include a grandfather clause allowing existing vacation rentals to continue operating.
“It was what the community wanted…” said Councilwoman Ellery Deaton. “It’s not anything we’re imposing on the community.”
“I think any time we get visitors, most likely, they will spend money,” she said,” (However), this is a residential community, not a hotel community.”
Last month officials approved an emergency version of the law, but the final vote was cast Tuesday night.
However, any homeowners, who had received a city permit allowing short-term rentals by Oct. 22, would still be allowed to rent out their property.
Kami Ferraiz, who represents a longtime Seal Beach homeowner who began renting his property this summer, said she wanted more time to apply for a vacation rental and that they had only learned about the ban three weeks earlier.
After the council meeting, Ferraiz told Patch that she felt the ban was “unreasonable,” especially given Seal Beach’s support for the Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Shop Local' campaign.
“You're saying two things: you want people to come shop and enjoy Seal Beach, but yet don’t come stay here,” Ferraiz said.
Old Town resident Barbara Barton, who was in favor of the ban, said she thinks it will help keep Seal Beach a “residential community.”
“The residents in my neighborhood would love to have just a nice neighborhood,” said Barton, 45 year-resident.