County officials are on the verge of prohibiting owners of property located within the unincorporated areas of the county, including some exotic locales, from hosting weddings on their estates, gardens, arboretums, mansions, manors, houses or land in general.
County officials are working toward the finalization of a countywide short term rental ordinance that once in place will prohibit property owners in the county’s unincorporated areas from utilizing their homes or property for all order of activity that heretofore has been perfectly legal.
While a primary upshot of the ordinance is to impose on county property owners the need to obtain permits to engage in the short term renting or leasing of homes and residential property and impose standards relating to the furnishings, utilities, facilities, appliances and whatnot within such domiciles or other structures used for that purpose, as currently drafted, it also restricts property owners from hosting get-togethers of any size, filming movies or holding matrimonial services and receptions.
In the ordinance’s preamble, the rules, which previously did not exist, are justified as intended “to establish a permit procedure, and maintenance and operational standards, for the use of legal residential dwelling units located in the mountain and desert regions as transient occupancies, to ensure the health and safety of occupants, guests, and the surrounding residential neighborhood, and to minimize negative secondary effects associated with such use.”
According to § 84.28.040 of the ordinance, “A short-term residential rental owner may use a single-family dwelling unit as a short-term residential rental unit only if such owner has a current valid short-term residential unit permit and complies with the requirements of [the ordinance] and other applicable provisions of the county code and other laws.”
In addition to the property in question being in compliance with the California Fire Code and the California Building Code, the proposed ordinance mandates short-term residential rentals have per room occupancy limits, stating, “For a room to be considered habitable space for overnight sleeping purposes, it must be a minimum of 70 square feet. A 70 square foot room may sleep one person. Each sleeping room occupied by more than one person shall contain not less than 50 square feet of floor area for each additional person. Kitchens, bathrooms, toilet rooms, halls, closets, storage or utility spaces, and similar areas are not considered habitable rooms for sleeping purposes, and the square footage represented by these rooms is not to be used in the calculation for determining the maximum number of occupants. The maximum occupancy of a short-term residential rental unit, including day-guests, may not exceed eight short residential unit occupants if the rental unit is smaller than 1,000 square feet. On parcels smaller than one-quarter acre, the maximum occupancy of a short-term residential rental unit, including day-use guests, may not exceed 10 persons. On parcels smaller than one-half acre, the maximum occupancy of a short-term residential rental unit, including day-use guests, may not exceed 15 persons. On parcels one-half acre or greater, the maximum occupancy of a short-term residential rental unit, including day-use guests, shall not exceed 20 persons. In addition, the maximum occupancy of a short-term residential rental unit is limited by the number of on-site parking spaces. A short-term residential rental unit must have one on-site parking space available for every four persons staying there. 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 and day-use guests shall be parked on neighboring properties or within the transportation right-of-way.”
Under § 84.28.070, the ordinance sets out conditions of operation. Under the subheading “Advertising of Unpermitted Uses,” the ordinance states, “Advertising that promotes a short-term residential rental unit for a use that is not permitted by this [ordinance] or other law, or any commercial activity including, but not limited to, the use of such unit for a wedding, wedding reception, corporate retreat, business conference or meeting, filming or photography shoots, fraternity party, or any other similar gathering, is prohibited.”
-By Mark Gutglueck