The Laguna Beach City Council on Tuesday denied a request to convert a home in a commercially zoned area into a vacation rental.
Green Ruby LLC and its president, Navid Filsoof, asked the council to overturn a decision by city staff denying a request to allow short-term rentals at 1060 N. Coast Hwy.
The property, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom house and an adjacent 200-square-foot commercial space, is in an area zoned for short-term lodging.
A city community development director denied the property owner’s request in May, citing “substantial” adverse effects to the neighborhood, such as traffic, noise and a lack of control over guests.
Filsoof appealed, but the council upheld the decision on a 3-1 vote, with Councilman Bob Whalen dissenting. Mayor Kelly Boyd was absent.
Councilman Steve Dicterow noted that the 1,350-square-foot home could theoretically be rented to different parties each day, comparing it to a hotel that would bring an “incredibly intense use” to the neighborhood.
Whalen suggested permitting the rental with the conditions that it require three-night minimum stays and ban pets other than service animals. His motion found no backing.
Calling the home an ideal location, given its commercial zoning and proximity to busy Coast Highway, Filsoof told the council he was an experienced operator who lives a few miles away and could address concerns if they arose. He wanted to restrict the unit to hosting five or fewer guests and noted sufficient parking.
“We are part of this community,” Filsoof said. “We respect our neighbors.”
Craig Coffin, who lives about 60 feet away, expressed concerns about rowdy guests, noise and an influx of cars in the nearby alleyway.
He also said he worried about guests jaywalking across Coast Highway to the beach.
Short-term rentals have been the source of fierce debate in Laguna Beach, given the surging popularity of rental sites like Airbnb.
In 2015 and 2016, the city issued a moratorium on new short-term lodging permits. By September 2016, the council banned them in residential zones, limiting them only to commercial areas, though the decision was overturned the following year by the California Coastal Commission.
Applicants for non-grandfathered, short-term rentals must now go through a hearing process that includes a public hearing and alerts to neighbors.