The Riverside County Board of Supervisors adopted two amended ordinances and heard public comment about the temporary moratorium for Temecula Valley Wine Country Policy area and the unincorporated communities of Idyllwild, Pine Cove and Mountain Center in an effort to address issues stemming from an increase in short-term rentals.

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors last week adopted two ordinance amendments that will impact short-term rentals in unincorporated areas of the county.

“While short term rentals have been a staple in the County and they provide a benefit to the County by expanding the number and type of lodging facilities, the exponential increase continues to cause adverse impacts that have the potential to endanger the health and safety of residents and guests and the very environment and resources that attract visitors to the County,” the ordinance regulating short-term rentals, which can be found here, states. “Adverse impacts to surrounding neighbors and properties include unpermitted large-scale events, excessive noise, disorderly conduct, traffic congestion, illegal vehicle parking and accumulation of refuse.”

The updated ordinance amends the number of people who can stay at a short-term rental. For properties with ½ acre or less, there can be no more than 10 people staying at the property. For properties between ½ acre and 2 acres, a maximum of 16 people can stay at the property. For properties larger than 2 acres, a maximum of 20 people can stay at the property. 

For all properties, regardless of size, the home must provide a minimum of 200 square feet per person up to the limits specified by property size. And for homes that allow more than 10 people to stay, there is a list of safety upgrades that must be met prior to exceeding that number.

The updated ordinance also changes the notification requirements for operators of short-term rentals. For those with properties of 5 acres or less, all homes within a 300 foot radius of the rental property must be notified that the property is operating as a short-term rental. For those with properties more than 5 acres, all homes within a 600 foot radius of the rental property must be notified that it will be operating as a short-term rental. Notification is required to go out within 10 days of the property being approved for a short-term rental certificate. Changes to the ordinance are set to go into effect 30 days after adoption, which would be Nov. 17.

The second amended ordinance, which can be found here, changes the fees for having a short-term rental. The initial application fee will go from $250 to $740 and the annual renewal fee will go from $100 to $540. The price increase is set to go into effect 60 days after its adoption, which would be Dec. 17. 

And while most of the comments from the audience were in favor of these two amended ordinances, some like Temecula wine country resident Jill Hernandez, were hoping to see additional restrictions to address the number of short-term rentals especially in wine country and Idyllwild.

“There’s already a housing crisis, and these homes that were built to be residential homes are becoming nothing more than short-term lodging,” she said. “There must be a limit on how many can be permitted in a neighborhood and that cannot be equal amounts of residents to short-term rentals. 

“My neighborhood currently has a saturation level of 38% and, in actuality, it is most likely more than that because of short-term rentals that are flying under your radar,” she continued. “It will not belong before it’s over 50%.”

Last month, the board adopted a temporary moratorium on new short-term rentals in the unincorporated areas of Idyllwild, Pine Cove and Mountain Center and the Temecula Valley Wine Country Policy area in an effort to further look into ways the county can address the adverse impacts of short-term rentals in those communities and received a report from county staff during last week’s meeting.

And while the board was not voting on whether to extend or end the moratorium, a number of residents echoed Hernandez’s sentiments as they spoke in favor of an extension of the moratorium.

“We just have enough, you know, and so hopefully next week you’ll vote to put the moratorium in place, keep it in place, and then get a cap and let it draw down through attrition,” Joel Feingold, who lives in Idyllwild, said. “I’m not here to shut down any short-term rentals that are registered, licensed and obeying the new ordinance.”

Others, like Jennifer Hartman, urged the county to not extend the moratorium and instead allow the ordinance to go into effect across the county and see how it addresses concerns raised by residents in these areas.

“Since you guys just voted to pass the new ordinance, can we give it an opportunity to work,” Hartman said. “We’ve had a few different examples of regulatory bodies that have done 45-day moratoriums for the similar purpose and were able to get done what they needed to get done in 45 days, one of those was San Bernardino County.”

The county is scheduled to take up the issue of the moratorium on new short-term rentals at Tuesday’s meeting.

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