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Short-term rentals in Orange County have been criticized by some for attracting a party-loving crowd that takes up parking spots, overfills trash cans and gets too loud in typically bedroom communities.

The concerns have prompted cities across the county to start or consider cracking down on short-term rentals including Newport Beach, Fullerton and Orange by increasing oversight and tightening restrictions on such properties in the industry.

Meanwhile, some rental owners in the county have used their homes for decades as a form of income by renting out to families looking to get away for a couple of days. They implemented rules of their own to ensure guests are considerate of their neighbors and have spoken out against the new regulations.

[ Read: Short Term Rentals See Countywide Crackdown Following Resident Complaints ]

Next week, this debate will continue in Dana Point where City Council members are slated to consider an ordinance amending their city law and penalties for short-term rentals at their meeting on Tuesday. The public can watch the meeting live through the city’s YouTube channel.

“Short-Term Rentals (STRs) have historically been a part of Dana Point and many other coastal communities. The increased popularity of STRs due to the growth of online platforms resulted in the need to establish regulations to ensure they are compatible in residential neighborhoods,” reads the city staff report on the ordinance.

The city has been grappling with short-term rental regulations for years.

Dana Point first approved an ordinance on short term rentals to address the community concerns and complies with the state’s coastal commission back in 2016.

But just a couple months later, a referendum petition got council members to rescind the ordinance and direct staff to come up with stricter rules and fines. They also let those who already had short-term rental permits continue operating while pausing new permits.

Nonetheless, some people have been operating short term rentals without permits, like in other cities throughout the county. There are 136 permits active today, according to the staff report.

The ordinance has been studied for years by subcommittees and the city’s planning commission.

Some of these changes include the following: 

  • Short-term rental units would have to pass city inspections to get a permit
  • Have two parking spaces
  • The primary renter must be 25 or older
  • Renters must stay a minimum of two consecutive nights
  • quiet hours from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Other rules are included in the ordinance amendment found in the staff report.

The changes also include penalties for anyone who does not comply with the rules and is essentially a three strike policy.

The first violation will result in the highest possible fine under state law and so will the second. Under current state law, these fines could be up to $700. 

The third violation will result in the property owner losing their short term rental permit.

Once revoked, the owner will not be allowed to reapply for a permit.

If the council approves these changes, the new rules will take effect a month after it is adopted.

Hosam Elattar is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact him @helattar@voiceofoc.org or on Twitter @ElattarHosam.

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