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Costa Mesa Council will look at extending citywide ban on short-term rentals Nov. 2

Costa Mesa City Hall.
Costa Mesa City Council members will hold a public hearing at an upcoming meeting to discuss the possible extension of an urgency ordinance passed in November banning rentals of fewer than 30 days.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Costa Mesa homeowners wishing to post parcels on short-term rental sites like Airbnb.com may have a long wait ahead of them, as the City Council is set to consider extending a temporary citywide ban of the practice by another year.

Council members will hold a public hearing at a Nov. 2 meeting to discuss the possible extension of an urgency ordinance passed in November banning rentals of fewer than 30 days.

The initial 45-day moratorium was extended by 10 months and 15 days at a meeting in December, to allow city staff more time to develop a permanent ordinance regulating short-term rentals.

Opponents of the practice claim homeowners holding onto properties to rent them out for short periods of time to temporary visitors decreases the city’s long-term housing stock, making it harder for people looking to live, rent or buy in Costa Mesa.

Those who list their properties say the practice, when done right, can provide an additional source of income and a safe place for people who may be in the city for a host of reasons.

A 45-day moratorium prohibits the short-term renting and advertising of properties on sites like Airbnb and VRBO. Officials say the move will buy time while they craft laws to prevent and regulate bad actors.

Municipalities have the option to extend urgency ordinances two times, so should the council opt to extend the short-term rental ban by one year, that would be the final extension.

Under the moratorium, any property owner or management company is prohibited from renting properties for fewer than 30 days and may not advertise the availability of such properties. A violation constitutes a public nuisance, which may be enforced and punished as a misdemeanor offense.

In a Dec. 15 discussion about whether to extend the urgency ordinance beyond its initial 45-day period, Jennifer Le, director of economic and development services, explained city staff would need to create ordinance language, modify the city’s municipal code and potentially create a permitting system to create a permanent ordinance.

“Crafting of a longer term land use policy related to short term rentals and then specifically coming up with regulations, as well as putting the systems into place to enforce and implement those regulations, will take staff some time,” Le said at the meeting.

The Costa Mesa City Council is scheduled to meet Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 77 Fair Drive, with the public hearing beginning no later than 7 p.m. Members of the public may listen and provide comments via a Zoom webinar. Instructions for participating virtually may be found on the meeting agenda, when posted, at costamesaca.gov.

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