County Updates Short-term Rental Ordinance Policies - Mountain News : News

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County Updates Short-term Rental Ordinance Policies

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Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2019 9:00 am

Several changes are being proposed in a revised draft of the Short-Term Rental Ordinance for San Bernardino County, including mandatory trash collection requirements, complaint response times and parking policies.

The draft was developed by Code Enforcement after they received input from District Supervisors about the types of issues they were facing in their communities.

After soliciting feedback and concerns about STRs from the public, Lewis Murray, district representative for Supervisor Janice Rutherford, said they took the 200 comments they received and sent them to Code Enforcement to be considered when developing the new STR ordinance.

“We get a lot of complaints in our office for a lot of different reasons,” Murray said. “When you get a lot of complaints, you see patterns. The three biggest issues are noise, parking and trash.”

The revised ordinance draft states owners of STR units in mountain regions will need to provide pullout trash collection service and animal-proof trash containers from the county-approved refuse collection hauler. The ordinance draft also states that a sufficient number of containers based on occupancy levels of the rental unit is required.

Code Enforcement is the agency responsible for making changes to the STR Ordinance. Andy Wingert, Code Enforcement division chief of the Land Use Services Department, was responsible for compiling the proposed changes to the ordinance.

“We had some complaints when I was at the Lake Arrowhead MAC meeting as well as written input that struck me as being credible,” Wingert said. “Specifically, that some in STR properties, the renters would leave trash in bags and be broken into by local wild animals and scattered all over the place.” 

Murray said this new requirement was a result of Rutherford and possibly other county supervisors telling Code Enforcement that the trash problem needed to be addressed.

The new language in the draft ordinance now states the following:

“Trash shall be deposited in approved trash collection containers on the short-term residential rental unit property. Trash containers shall be kept closed when not in use, never be permitted to overflow, and kept in a clean condition without excessive buildup of clinging, sticky or encrusted wastes in or on the container.”

Code Enforcement introduced the idea of requiring STRs to have animal-proof enclosures for trash in the mountain area to the draft ordinance.

“We thought it was a great way to address the (trash) issue,” Murray said.

The ordinance draft now also requires owners or an owner’s agent to be available on a 24-hour basis to confirm whether complaints or calls are valid within one hour of being made.

“We want them to know definitively whether there is an issue,” Wingert said. “I don’t think that is unreasonable at all.”

“One of the biggest things that (Rutherford) pushed for was this 24-hour hotline,” Murray said.

The county has contracted an outside company to manage the hotline, but Murray said this process is much better since, in the past, code enforcement was only a Monday to Friday service.

“This doesn’t solve the problem but it has been a positive help with these issues,” Murray said.

The ordinance draft increases the regulation on STR property parking. Under the proposed ordinance, “All vehicles for Short-Term Residential Renters and Day-Use guests must be parked on the Short-Term Residential unit property. No vehicles for renters or day-use guests shall be parked on neighboring properties or create an obstruction within the transportation right of way.”

The ordinance draft also states that “No more than two vehicles for rental unit occupancies of two or less, including day-use guests, and no more than one vehicle per every two short-term rental occupants, including day-use guests, for rental unit occupancies of three or greater, shall be parked on the Short-Term Residential Unit property.”

Additionally, reinspections of STR properties and “other structures or improvements on the property” will be mandatory and STR Unit permits will be renewed every two years.

The renewal shall be approved if the current conditions of operation and other standards in this chapter have been met, the property has passed the renewal inspection, and the applicable renewal fee as set forth in the San Bernardino County Code Schedule of Fees is paid, according to the revised ordinance draft.

If the renewal payment is not made within 45 days of permit expiration, including renewal fees, the permit will be closed. In order to reopen, the owner will now need to submit a new application, pay the application fee and undergo the application process from the beginning, according to the revised ordinance draft.

“Short term rental ordinance have been occurring for a long, long time,” Murray said. “The ordinance tries to mitigate the impact on the community.”

Christian Shepherd can be reached at cshepherd@mountain-news.com.

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