Divided Commission OKs Proposal on Short-Term Rentals

Under the urging of the City Council, the La Cañada Flintridge Planning Commission reluctantly approved a proposed ordinance regulating short-term rentals during last Thursday’s virtual meeting.
Susan Koleda, director of community development, presented an amended ordinance that included 15 operational requirements. The commission tweaked some of the language before a 3-2 vote in favor of the new regulations, which will be presented to the City Council in the near future.
The commission had expressed its concerns over short-term rentals — rentals lasting less than 30 consecutive days — in January and unanimously voted in favor of recommending banning the practice of renting out accessory dwelling units, guest homes and rooms in January. Commissioners felt that out-of-town visitors could negatively impact residential neighborhoods by bringing additional noise, trash and traffic, especially if they hosted parties.
City Council members elected not to ban the rentals after hearing from residents who benefited from them. The council formed a subcommittee to further investigate the issue.
The amended ordinance would require LCF homeowners renting out properties or spare rooms to obtain a city business license and a permit and have a contact person available within two hours of the residence to address any concerns from city officials, the fire department and law enforcement.
Other operational requirements include authorization of a transient occupancy tax; the host taking responsibility for and actively preventing parties or events that would be considered a nuisance; prohibiting the use of outdoor pools, spas, hot tubs and sports facilities from 10 p.m.-7 a.m.; limiting the number of guests to two (excluding minor children) per bedroom; and maintaining guest information for a minimum of six months and making those records available to the city upon request.
Commissioner Jeffrey McConnell requested that the amended ordinance remove the requirement that the host reside on site and remain present for the duration of the visitor’s stay.
“In my mind, that is asking a lot of somebody when renting out their place,” he said. “So I’m not necessarily in agreement with maintaining that. I do believe there should be a local contact person.”
Another revision was to increase the minimum stay of two consecutive nights to four.
An issue involving parking was also discussed, and the commission modified the initial requirement limiting short-term renters to only one vehicle and agreed to allow one car to be parked in the public right of way and all additional vehicles to be permitted on site.
The two dissenting votes came from Commissioner Samir Mehrotra and chair Mike Hazen, who stood firm on his previous decision.
“My opinion on this, as it was the last time, is I don’t think we need this in our city,” he said. “We’re just creating so much work that I don’t see how we’ll ever get it done and, again, we’re creating something that just creates work. To my mind, if somebody’s coming into town to be at an event, that’s why there are hotels. That’s why there are relatives and friends. But to create all this just so a handful of people can make a couple hundred bucks a night. … I’m just totally against this.”

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