Oct 10 2015

Short Term Rentals: Planning Commission Hearing Monday, Oct. 12

The Planning Commission will hold another hearing to discuss short term rentals on October 12 in the City Hall Council Chambers. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m., however the short term rental issue has been placed at the end of the agenda.  Those wanting to know the anticipated time of the hearing can inquire of Planning Director Kate Black.

At the Monday, September 21st Council meeting, City staff presented options for prohibiting or regulating AirBnB type rentals for consideration by the City Council. (Read the staff report here.)

  • Prohibit short-term rental of the 18 Second Units developed as low income housing. Staff strongly encourages the Council to adopt this provision, pointing out that the imposed rent restrictions would limit the AirBnB rate to $25 (very low income units) to $35 (low income units) per night for the units, before AirBnB takes its cut.
  • Prohibit short-term rental of the 110 approved Second Units, which are not rent restricted. Staff notes that few are rented. Instead they are used as guest quarters or a home office.
  • Prohibit short-term rental of the 66 apartments in Piedmont.
  • No regulation of Home Swaps.
  • Prohibit or regulate with standards short-term rental of rooms in a house. If allowed, the number of allowed rental days per year could be limited.
  • Allow vacation rentals of whole houses with restrictions, perhaps limiting the number of allowed rental days per year.

The Piedmont City Council referred several questions back to the Planning Commission for further recommendations: whether home shares or vacation rentals should be permitted in Piedmont; if so, how should they be regulated; and how to enforce any regulations.

Excerpts from the draft minutes of the September 21, 2015, Council meeting:

Planning Director Kate Black noted that the regulatory environment regarding short term rentals has changed significantly since March and many cities are struggling with the issue. She reviewed regulations that have been passed or are being considered by other cities, noting all cities are facing the same issues: how to ensure short term rentals cause the least amount of disruption to nearby neighborhoods; ensuring that taxes are collected from each legal short term rental; how to address safety, indemnification, and notification; and how to enforce compliance.

The Council discussed the following issues – clarifying the landlord/tenant relationship with regard to subleasing; not turning rooms into commercial enterprises; that the City is not a destination location; neighborhoods being informed of rentals; and addressing this emerging economy. In addition, a Councilmember discussed prohibiting whole house rentals for more than 30 days as they could have deleterious effects on neighborhood’s quality of life.

The Council agreed on the following aspects of regulating Short Term Rentals:

1) No Second Units or apartments should be allowed as short term rentals so as to not jeopardize the existing low income housing stock and 2) Home swaps should not be regulated.

The Council referred the following items to the Planning Commission for a recommendation:

1) Whether home shares and/or vacation rentals should be permitted and if so, how they should be regulated; 2) How any enforcement of said regulations would be accomplished, including: i) Whether permits for short term rentals would be ministerial or discretionary (with neighbor notice). ii) How inspections of units should be addressed. iii) How any regulations should be enforced, including the amount of staff time devoted to enforcement as well as the cost. iv) Whether short term rentals should be limited to a certain number of days per year. v) Whether tenants should be allowed to sublet. vi) How taxes and fees should be addressed.

Residents are encouraged to attend the meeting and express their opinions and ideas. The Planning Commission hearing will be available live on KCOM, cable 27 or by logging on to the city’s website at www.ci.piedmont.ca.us

If you have any questions or comments, please call Planning Director Kate Black at (510) 420-3063 or email her         at kblack@ci.piedmont.ca.us . 

Written comments may be sent to: Planning Commission, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611 or by email to: kblack@ci.piedmont.ca.us

Planning Commission Agenda

View the Video of the September 21, 2015 City Council Hearing

Read the minutes of the September 21 Council meeting here.

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