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Tension Between Vacation Rentals and Property Rights Flares in SB

On Monday the City Council will tackle a controversial vacations rental, proposals to renovate the pier and McGaugh Pool and a new Planning Commission appointment.

A Monrovia man will ask city leaders Monday to let him rent out his Seal Beach property as a vacation rental.

The property owner, John Lima, is appealing the Oct. 17 decision of the Seal Beach Planning Commission, which rejected his request for a permit to rent his property on 546 Ocean Avenue as a short-term rental.

The instance is one of a number of recent appeals by property owners seeking the OK to rent short-term properties -- rentals for less than 30 days -- in Seal Beach. , effectively forbidding all vacation rentals in the city.

The issue is a sore spot with many Old Town residents who say vacation rentals bring garbage, noise and carousing to the normally-quiet town. Other residents and property owners however, say that restricting vacation rentals is a infringing on property rights and that the rentals don’t cause as many problems as critics allege.

On Monday, the council has a number of options including overturning the Commission's decision, affirming the decision or sending the issue back to the commission for further discussion.

According to the staff report, Lima said that the Commission made its decision with “insufficient facts/evidence” and “conflicting findings within he staff report.”

The 5,880 square feet property is a three-level five bedroom single family dwelling with an attached two car garage and space for two cars to park. According to the staff report, in 2012 the police received six service calls to the subject location.

Also on the Agenda

  • A vote on whether to approve a $55,000 plan for renovations on the Seal Beach Pier
  • Two decisions on McGaugh Pool: a $12,00 maintenance contract and a $19,800 contract to renovate the facility.
  • A second vote on a proposed laws regarding size rooftop canopy size limits. 
  • A decision on whether to approve the appointment of Steven Sloan to fill the place of David Everson, a Planning Commission representative from District 1 who recently resigned.

All four items above are on the consent calendar, which means they will be voted on without discussion unless an official, city staffer or member of the public pulls them for discussion.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Monday at 911 Seal Beach Boulevard.

To read the agenda for the meeting, click here and the select “Agenda”

Donna January 27, 2013 at 03:27 PM
I don't see why the city can't just impose a '3 strikes rule' for vacation rentals: If police receive 3 complaints from neighbors that break the city's laws/ordinances, then that residence can no longer be used as a summer rental. There has to be some middle ground that will allow summer rentals, yet hold landlords responsible for renting to responsible tenants.
Nat Ferguson January 27, 2013 at 04:02 PM
Donna the reason that wouldn't work is that some people abuse their right to call the police on small matters. Thus effectively building a complaint log against property owners.
Shelly G January 27, 2013 at 04:43 PM
All beach towns have vacation rentals. I used to go with my family as a little girl to Balboa and we rented there. Seal Beach, because of a few complaints by people that live by the vacation rentals complain, they change the entire ordinance. Absurd! Doesn't our little "Mayberry by the Sea" make revenue/taxes from rentals? The answer is yes. This is not a major problem in my eyes. I manage numerous month to month and year round apartments. There are just as many complaints on these rentals, in fact, possibly more than the vacation rentals. Live with it! We are a beach community and it's not like these properties are not kept up or are an eyesore. This is beach living and vacation rentals have always been a part of that. If you want a "quiet", no problem community, don't live at the beach. Oh and there are only a few complainers compared to not, get off your high horses!
Shelly G January 27, 2013 at 04:55 PM
I meant on "these type of rentals, not mine specifically ie., month to month, 12 month leased rentals. I live next door to one that has been a nightmare for almost 10 years. After so many calls, the owner's are supposed to be fined. How about a new ordinance, if Police are call out to ANY rental more than so many times for the same issues (TBD), the owners lose the right to rent at all. If you can't control your tenants, you shouldn't be allowed to have a rental. Period! Or owner's should be fined big time! According to current code, they are supposed to get fined.
Debbie Bickerstaff January 27, 2013 at 09:22 PM
I actually leased Mr. Lima's residence for a year and can tell you that there were no police reports while we were renters. I find it very hard to believe that a rental of that magnitude (have you checked the monthly rate?) would attract anyone other than middle age, high income earners who would have no interest in causing problems in a little beach side community. My guess is that the police reports were due to said renters using the burglar alarm incorrectly...
Donna January 27, 2013 at 09:41 PM
Then the callers who abuse their right should also face a large fine. The people who abuse the laws/ordinances should be the ones targeted to pay....not the responsible citizens. It is like a teacher who punishes the entire class because of the misbehavior of one or two students.
herrynelson May 05, 2013 at 09:56 AM
I must say that they are supposed to get fined in these situations and rental owner can finish the contract at same time without any delay. This is 100 % due to said renters using the burglar.

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