The resident-based organization San Clemente Vacation Rentals Alliance (SCVRA) filed a lawsuit June 20 against the city, claiming its short-term lodging unit laws are out of compliance with the California Coastal Act.
The California Coastal Commission gives cities the option to adopt their own coastal land use plan (CLUP) in order for more self-governance. Until they do so, cities must apply for coastal development permits for construction that must comply with the Coastal Act, and, as SCVRA argues, the laws that govern the uses within the law’s jurisdiction.
Local resident James Payne, who represents San Clemente Vacation Rental Alliance, stated in a letter to the California Coastal Commission that the permitting process has reduced the 512 permittees down to about 68. This would have an impact of eliminating 87 percent of available lodging units and about 25,000 lodging nights for the city, which now requires rental owners to file transient occupancy tax forms to be in compliance.
His statistics were based on a report from the city of San Clemente.
The city’s ordinance requires no short-term lodging unit can operate within 300 feet of another.
Payne and his wife own a STLU in San Clemente, which he said they’ve rented to visitors for more than 14 years.
“SCVRA fully agrees with common sense rules regulating vacation rentals, including quiet hours, occupancy and other restrictions we already have in our rental contracts with vacationers,” Payne stated in an email. “We focus on being good neighbors. The small handful of bad actors can be dealt with via regulatory enforcement actions, which the city of San Clemente put in place shortly before its decision to enact the zoning ban.”
In the lawsuit, SCVRA is asking the court to vacate the ordinances because they believe they did not go through the proper channels outlined in the Coastal Act.
More information on the ordinances can be found within the city’s municipal code at www.san-clemente.org.