Newport Beach tightens restrictions on short-term rentals after Coast Commission approvals
Newport Beach City Council tightened restrictions on short-term accommodation in the city and on Newport Island in general on Tuesday after a multi-year effort put forward by residents tired of noise and parking issues caused by housing.
New restrictions – recently approved with minor changes by the California Coastal Commission – were formally approved by a majority of council members on Tuesday, with Pro Tem Mayor Kevin Muldoon and Councilor Noah Blom dissenting.
The new bylaw will come into effect on January 13, 2022, after a second finalizing vote at the next board meeting on December 14.
The city will now have a maximum of 1,550 short-term accommodation permits across the city and will require a minimum stay of two consecutive nights.
Senior planner Jaime Murillo said there were currently 1,581 permits issued and that number could increase between the meeting and when the changes go into effect in January.
As properties eventually drop off the list and the number of active permits drops below 1,550, city staff will be removed from a waiting list.
Newport Island will have a cap of 20 short-term accommodation permits and will require properties to be owned and occupied by their owners.
Daytime and nighttime occupancy limits and minimum parking requirements will be required for these units on Newport Island. Rentals will also be limited to one per week.
Previous language submitted to the Coast Commission indicated a stay of three consecutive nights, which Murillo said the Coast Commission saw as potentially restrictive for low to moderate income families.
The Coastal Commission also suggested adding a restriction on apartment conversions. For apartments of five or more units, no more than 20% of the total units can be converted into short-term rentals. Duplexes are exempt.
In addition, the commission adjusted previous wording on parking requirements, which provided for at least one space on-site to reduce on-street parking.
This space, the commission change clarifies, does not need to be additional space, and an existing parking space can meet the requirement.
All changes have been adopted.
City council members initially passed short-term accommodation reforms earlier this year, but needed the commission’s approval to implement them in its local coastal program.
The City defines short-term rental as any accommodation occupied for less than 30 consecutive days. Newport Beach initially implemented guidelines for these rentals in 1992, which were later amended in 2004 to allow rentals in R-1 zoning districts.
An ad hoc committee was set up on the subject in 2019.
Residents have spoken widely in favor of the restrictions, although some property owners offering short-term rentals have opposed the stricter guidelines for Newport Island.
One owner questioned whether long-term residents should be given priority over newer residents. He had started renovating his house only to find he could no longer get a permit for a short-term rental.
“It really started at the resident level and we are here to represent the residents, and I am delighted with the support from the council members that we have brought forward so far,” said Councilor Diane Dixon, adding that she was “pleasantly surprised” with the support of the Coastal Commission and that the commissioners were concerned that the coastal habitat was suffering the negative effects of the proliferation of rentals.
“The Coast Commission sees the impact of short-term rentals on permanent residences,” Dixon said.
“When they realized that we currently have over 1,500 short-term rental permits when six or seven years ago we had half of them?” In fact, they praised the city for having so many rooms or places to stay for visitors in addition to the 3[,000] or 4,000 hotel rooms in the city.
“We have had many difficulties with the Coast Commission since I joined the board and we are winning and losing a few, but I… think we have been able to meet the needs that have been imposed on us and I am grateful for the support from the staff and residents who have really driven this home, ”Dixon said.
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