Council to Consider Capping Short-Term Rentals, New Rules

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Newport Beach City Councilwoman Diane Dixon speaks to residents during a town hall Monday at Marina Park Community Center.
— Photo by Daniel Langhorne ©

The Newport Beach City Council will review a slate of new regulations on short-term rentals Tuesday to assuage concerns of homeowners complaining that party houses are negatively changing neighborhood character.

Community Development Director Seimone Jurjis outlined the proposed rules during a town hall at Marina Park Community Center on Monday that covered a wide range of topics.

The new regulations on the city council’s agenda next week include: A citywide cap of 1,600 short-term rental permits; a maximum occupancy of two people per bedroom plus an additional two people for the residence; two code enforcement violations in a 12-month period will result in a license suspension for 6 months; permits require at least one off-street parking space; operators most post a sign inside the unit that includes information about trash collection, street sweeping, and a 24-hour contact phone number; and a sign on the building’s exterior must include the maximum occupancy, operator’s contact name, and phone number for a city-contracted call answering service.

There are currently 1,465 short-term rental permits in the city.

In addition to tracking complaints for city code enforcement staffers, the answering service will also call short-term rental operators after receiving a complaint and, for example, request that loud music be turned down.

A screenshot of Newport Beach short-term rentals available on Airbnb. (click to enlarge)
— Airbnb screenshot

“This is a way to have an immediate response instead of picking up the call trying call a police officer when down the road they’re trying to deal with something else,” Jurjis said.

City Council will also consider establishing a 10-year sunset for short-term rentals the city has permitted outside of the Coastal Zone. Newport Beach has permitted 58 short-term rentals in non-coastal zone neighborhoods.

Residents say the California Coastal Commission’s onerous restrictions on Newport Beach and beach cities interested in banning Airbnb and VRBO operations have essentially turned blocks of West Newport into hotels.

A resident suggested the City Council consider requiring more than one off-street parking space based on the number of bedrooms in a short-term rental, adding the city can decide not to grant a permit if the properties without the necessary parking.

City staffers will consider adding this steeper parking requirement in their proposal to the City Council, Jurjis said.

“If you don’t have a parking space, you’re not going to get a short-term rental permit, you’re just not,” he said.

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