Evolving County Interpretation on Coastal STRs
The County continues to claim that STRs are not completely banned in the coastal zone, but can be permitted as a "similar use" to a use that can be permitted (e.g. BnBs). In reality, this is a falsehood. Here is the history of the County's "interpretation" affecting STRs in the coastal zone. Read the two County code interpretations (original and revised) regarding STRs and the pertinent Coastal Commission letter.
1. Here is the original July 9, 2015 County interpretation that coastal STRs are not permitted: Mike Novo's Interpretation.
The original states, "Rental for 30 days or less (no-bed and breakfast) is not permitted in the Coastal Zone."
2. Here is the Coastal Commission’s letter dated June 23, 2016 to the County: Coastal Commission Letter.
The letter reads, “At this juncture it is our (CCC) opinion that vacation rentals are allowable in Monterey County’s coastal zone under the LCP (Local Coastal Plan), and we highly recommend that instead of attempting to suggest they are prohibited or pursuing (citing) such prohibitions, that Monterey County instead work with us to develop regulations that serve to ensure Coastal Act-required protections are in place to address any potential concerns…” and “…efforts along these lines were undertaken by the County back in 1997, but those efforts were apparently discontinued. We would suggest that now is an appropriate juncture to restart that effort.”
3. So on September 20, 2016 the County revised the interpretation:
The original interpretation states coastal STRs are not permitted but conveniently the revised version states, “Rental for 30 days or less may be permitted in the Coastal Zone with an approved Coastal Development Permit based on a determination by the Planning Commission that the proposed use is of a similar character, density and intensity to those listed in the applicable zoning code sections if determined to be consistent and compatible with the intent of the applicable Chapter of the zoning code and the applicable land use plans.”
It is MCVRA’s opinion that this is the County’s smoke screen for the Coastal Commission by trying to say there is no County ban on coastal STRs. Two STR owners have inquired about getting a “similar use” BnB type permit and were told the application fee would be $9,000 - $11,000. And BnB permits require the owner or a manager be on site. The County has admitted that no such “similar use” permits have been issued for STRs.