San Diego

Del Mar City Council Discusses Short-Term Vacation Rentals, Railroad Tracks

A temporary moratorium was placed on short-term vacation rentals in April, 2016

The Del Mar City Council moved forward Tuesday on the next step to determine whether short-term vacation rentals can be permitted in the seaside community.

A temporary moratorium was placed on short-term vacation rentals in April. Rentals that had already been operating at the time were permitted to remain open but no new ones were allowed to operate.

At least two dozen Del Mar homeowners spoke at Tuesday night's city council meeting, arguing vacation rentals provides extra income.

“I want my grandchildren to enjoy the house and be able to rent it out when I am not here," said homeowner Barbara Fletcher. "It is a family house in a family neighborhood and we get to rent to other families so they may also enjoy the beach at Del Mar."

But some residents argue the rentals take away from the seaside community.

Council members voted in favor of the Planning Commission to determine whether short-term rentals are covered under current law.

Some residents accused the council of passing the responsibility of making a decision to the Planning Commission.

But the officials said it's proper protocol.

"One speaker addressed the fact we didn't have enough facts. We have investigated and have no facts. I'm arguing the Planning Commission will offer us some facts with the respect to the municipal code,” Councilmember Sherryl Parks said.

At the moment, Del Mar does not have any city codes that address vacation rentals directly. Also, there are not enough city resources to monitor short-term rentals.

An estimated number of 130 rentals are still operating in Del Mar while the City Council juggles the issue.

The City Council also discussed moving the train tracks that run through its community. 

According to the council, at least a dozen people die every year along the tracks.

In November, a pedestrian died after being struck by a train in Del Mar. Just a month later, one person was hit by a train while taking a photo.

Two months earlier, the North County Transit District announced there would be increased surveillance and citations for anyone crossing the railroad tracks between 4th and 11th streets. The announcement became a hot-button issue among residents who argued it was unfair for them to be cited for just crossing the tracks to access the beach.

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