Despite strong opposition from many families, the Del Mar City Council decided Monday night that short-term rentals will no longer be permitted in residential zones of the city.
The council's decision closes down the lucrative side business of short-term rentals in existence within the city for decades. By most accounts, short-term rentals are part of the very fabric of the Del Mar community.
“It baffles me why they would want to cut off an economic lifeline to the City of Del Mar,” resident Gina Mattern said.
That was perhaps the strongest argument for short-term rentals in this year-long battle: the economic impact to the home owners and to local businesses making a buck on the tourists.
Del Mar City Council was tasked with determining whether community planners crafted rules regarding short-term rentals.
In a four-to-one decision, the council found there are no such guidelines, therefore prohibiting short-term rentals in residential zones.
But the rentals are still allowed in areas zoned as commercial.
A year ago, council put a moratorium on any new short-term rentals in the community. At the time it was estimated there were 300 operating in neighborhoods.
Since then, the legality of short-term rentals has been debated in council and the City Planning Commission.
Monday’s decision is the final say but not the last word on this issue.
"It wasn't enforced because it was allowed and they are reinterpreting it retroactively. They weren't there and they are doing it deliberately because now short-term rentals are unpopular,” resident Susan Feierabend said.
The council said the moratorium on new short-term rentals will remain in effect and those operating before the moratorium will not immediately be affected by Monday’s decision.
Some council members and the Mayor of Del Mar want to come up with regulations and permits that might allow short-term rentals that meet certain requirements.