City Reconsiders Plan to Limit Hotel Stays

After listening to innkeepers describe how an ordinance limiting the time guests may stay at their hotels would drive away business, the Camarillo City Council decided to reevaluate the matter.

"They pointed out to the council that the action would restrict their business by not allowing people to stay longer than 60 days, because about 10% of their business came from long-term guests," Mayor Charlotte Craven said.

The city's Economic Development Committee will meet with hotel managers and Chamber of Commerce representatives within the next month to work out an ordinance that is satisfactory to both sides, Craven said.

If the council had adopted the ordinance, guests who stayed at Camarillo hotels would have had to re-register after 30 days and then vacate the premises for 60 days after another month had passed.

Craven said the ordinance was intended to permit the city to collect more hotel taxes. When the issue was first brought to the council last month, Craven was the only one who voted against it, saying that it would require hotel managers to either kick out their guests or break a state law regulating how long taxes must be paid.

Guests must pay hotel taxes only for the first 30 days of their stay. If they were forced to re-register, they would have to continue paying taxes after 30 days.

Hotel managers and representatives from the chamber said at Wednesday's meeting that long-term guests include disaster victims, people who are relocating to the area and waiting to move into a house and those who are setting up shop in town or on a temporary work assignment.

Carol Nordahl, executive director of the chamber, said she was glad the council decided to reconsider.

"I'm pleased they recognized that this issue is a little bit more involved than what I believe they first anticipated," Nordahl said.

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