Seal Beach residents in Orange, CA are taking action against short-term vacation rentals. In a response characteristic of residents of small communities, Old Town tourist district—the last city district in Seal Beach to allow vacation rental practices—proposed a law that would halt any new vacation rental properties.
This is becoming a common point of contention in small beach communities, especially in Florida, but efforts at banning vacation rental practices may be counterproductive to the long-term interests of communities that benefit so largely from vacationers and tourists.
According to LosAlamitos-SealBeachPatch, Mayor Michael Levitt directed city staff to draft an ordinance that would potentially ban new short-term property rentals—any property rental for 29 days or less—from the district.
The proposal underscores the attitude of many Old Town residents who would prefer to have no short-term vacation rentals at all. Residents who have lived in the area for years claim that short-term vacation renters detract from the community’s culture and value of the properties. Among the most common complaints from these residents are the garbage, noise and carousing from some vacation rentals.
“It’s not what it used to be,” Barbara Barton, an Old Town resident said. “And they (short-term vacation renters) come here and want to change everything about it.”
The discussion began after the City Council scheduled a vote on whether to allow three local short-term rental properties to skip the city’s permitting process because, among other reasons, they had been issued business licenses.
According to the city staff report, the permit-skipping-process issue arose after the city’s finance department issued business licenses to a number of vacation rental businesses without consulting with the community development department and “without the knowledge of the City Council, City Manager, City Attorney, or community development department.”
Under the city’s current code, Old Town short-term rental properties must receive the go-ahead from the city planning commission before they can operate.
Councilwoman Eller Deaton says that her primary concern is preserving “the charm of the community and the cohesiveness of the community. This is what Old Town is about. It’s about community, and it’s about neighbors, and when you go on and bring in party homes, it disrupts the quality of life.”
Deaton says that the soonest the law could go into effect would be in October this year.
Futile or necessary measures? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.