Coastal Commission staff leans toward denying Malibu’s Hosted Short-Term Rental Ordinance

Malibu’s Short-Term Rental Unit Hosted Ordinance, which was passed by the city on Nov. 23, 2020, requires an onsite host during short-term rentals (STRs), among a list of other items. The city then amended its Local Coastal Program (LCP) and Land Use Plan (LUP) accordingly and submitted those changes to the California Coastal Commission (CCC) for approval before the “hosted” ordinance could officially go into effect.

The reason for the “hosted” ordinance in the first place was due to residents’ concerns with the amount of STRs in Malibu. To the point where locals felt neighborhoods were being transformed, housing for actual residents and newcomers was becoming more scarce and expensive, and even school enrollment was dropping. On top of that, the fact that STRs weren’t required to be supervised resulted in a number of parties in the middle of quiet neighborhoods with noise, trash, and parking problems. 

The Coastal Commission staff recently notified the city of Malibu that they were leaning towards denying the city’s proposed LCP amendment for hosted. However, explained they were willing to work towards a mutually agreeable modification before they put it to a vote before the commission. 

In Fiscal Year 2020-21, the CCC certified LCP amendments related to STRs for Carmel-by-the-Sea, Oxnard, and Laguna Beach as well as the Santa Cruz County. So why not Malibu?

The main problem seems to be that CCC staff believes a ‘hosted-only’ rule for single-family properties would reduce the number of STRs in, thus reducing coastal access. And, unlike Santa Monica, Malibu has fewer hotel rooms and bed and breakfasts to make up for the loss of those STRs.

Coastal Commission staff indicated that while each city/county has its own set of unique issues based on local circumstances, the key is to find a balance that wouldn’t overly restrict STRs while at the same time minimizing impacts on residential neighborhoods. While there were a range of approaches taken by other cities, given the hearing timeline for Malibu’s LCP, the city writes that it would be difficult for staff to complete the needed in-depth analysis for some of the approaches taken by other cities, like limiting the number of permits by neighborhood.

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CCC staff informed the city that other cities/counties allow both hosted and non-hosted STRs, and indicated that Malibu might consider allowing non-hosted STRs during specified periods of higher demand each year. 

One of the draft ordinances considered by City Council previously (Aug. 10, 2020) actually did establish an STR permit system with three types of permits: 1) primary resident, 2) non-primary resident, and 3) multifamily with different permit requirements and permissions for each permit type. For example, non-primary residents might only be able to operate STRs from April 1 to Sept. 30 each year. Malibu city staff writes that council could direct them to work with CCC staff to consider a similar approach allowing non-hosted STRs for primary residents during certain periods.

CCC staff also stated their belief that “many people wouldn’t want to rent an STR if the homeowner was living in the house at the same time.” They were also of the opinion that single-family properties with existing guest houses or second units would be most likely to utilize the hosted-only provision. City staff is currently developing a list of those properties along with a list of properties with existing legal accessory structures.

During the next few months, Malibu city staff plans to work with CCC on addressing their suggested modifications to ensure that an amendment is brought to a hearing. Once a hearing date is set, a Notice of Public Hearing will be published, and a CCC staff report will be available on the CCCs website.

The CCC must act on the amendment request by early November; the latest they could hear the item at a public meeting would be at the October meeting in San Diego. The next scheduled meeting in Malibu’s region is in August. 

Malibu city staff is now looking to City Council for direction on how to proceed—either work with CCC to find a mutually acceptable alternative ordinance or offer changes they feel would satisfy the CCC.

TMT will continue to follow this story with updates from the City Council meeting held on Monday, June 13, and follow up with city staff.  

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