The decision to permit short term rentals is back in the hands of Del Mar City Council.
On Tuesday, the Del Mar Planning Commission, tasked with determining whether vacation rentals are permitted, decided to make no decision on the issue.
Some frustrated homeowners said that after two years, elected and appointed officials, charged with managing the affluent beach community with properties worth millions of dollars, do not have the political will to resolve this issue.
A month ago, the city council was accused of kicking the can to the planning commission, which is now throwing it back to them.
In a 3-2 vote, the Del Mar Planning Commission concluded that short-term rentals are not addressed in the municipal code. So, until the City Council makes some rules about them, the commission cannot interpret whether vacation rentals are a permitted use.
At last month's City Council meeting, members struggled with the same ambiguous municipal code language so they tasked the planning commission with interpreting it.
"It’s pathetic. They have in their mind they just don't want this to go forward . They are using all these excuses and all this rhetoric to prevent this thing from any kind of compromise,” said resident Noel Quintana.
Currently, there is a temporary moratorium on new short-term rentals but the city estimates 143 vacation rentals are operating.
Some of those homeowners at Tuesday’s meeting said the extra income helps pay the bills, secures their retirement, and brings customers to Del Mar restaurants and retailers.
The "no decision" does not sit well with that group.
"What I am hoping is not what they are going to do because City Council is already stacked that they do not want short-term rentals so they are going to disallow short-term rentals,” said resident Debbie Church.
Three new City Council members elected last year ran on "no short-term rental" platforms.
City Council's next scheduled meeting is Friday.