The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why the SC Times is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.

Tim Brown
Tim Brown

By Mayor Tim Brown

The city of San Clemente is uniquely gifted with a wealth of assets. While its famous beaches, historic properties and engaging downtown easily come to mind, some of the greatest attributes of the city are not quite so obvious. One of these is the many family-oriented and attractive residential neighborhoods, not always common in coastal cities. These are places residents can be proud to call home. And it is the combination of all of these assets that makes San Clemente a world-class city in which to live, work and play.

However, due in large part to the attractiveness of our coastal neighborhoods, the city has also been a favorite location for businesses seeking to exploit our incredible coastal resources and hometown charm.
Beginning a few years ago, I witnessed the transition in many of the city’s most cherished neighborhoods. Our residential neighborhoods were quickly being overtaken by commercial lodging businesses. For example, in 2010, there were approximately 50 short-term lodging units (STLU) in the city. By the beginning of 2016, there were 512.

Though these problems were not new to California, the experiences of other coastal cities that were similarly affected did not provide a clear solution. Very obvious was the immediate need to take action to ensure the safety of our neighborhoods while protecting the legal rights of property owners. With a tremendous amount of public input from both residents and business owners, the city adopted ordinances to regulate STLUs and boarding houses. At the same time, the City Council was very clear to city staff that we wanted to ensure that these new regulations would be effective by reviewing them in the future.

At a recent City Council meeting, city staff presented statistics on the state of the short-term lodging industry in San Clemente today as compared to a year and a half ago, as well as the city’s enforcement of the new regulations. The statistics show that the high of 512 STLUs in 2016, the city has reduced the number to 225 and has found the new permitting process successful at locating new STLUs only in the areas approved for short-term residency. On the enforcement side, city staff are now able to aggressively pursue properties that are ineffectively operated and negatively impacting the neighborhoods they are located in. Since the adoption of the ordinances, city staff have received 262 complaints, which turned into 136 enforcement cases regarding violations of the STLU regulations, resulting in many citations for noncompliance. Additionally, the city has revoked two STLU operating licenses from property owners receiving three or more citations at their STLU. Along with this enforcement, the city has actively responded to neighborhood nuisances stemming from boarding houses.

Though these uses still affect some residential neighborhoods, what is clear at this point is that the city has effective tools in place to deal with problem properties. While not every violation turns into a citable offense, the city is committed to ensuring the enforcement of the protections put in place to maintain the high quality of our residential neighborhoods. For nuisance issues related to STLUs or boarding houses, please contact the City’s Code Compliance Division at 949.366.4705 or

Wishing you and your family happy holidays!

Tim Brown was selected as the new mayor of San Clemente on Dec. 5.  

Trustworthy, accurate and reliable local news stories are more important now than ever. Support our newsroom by making a contribution and becoming a subscribing member today.

About The Author Staff

comments (2)

  • interesting thing here is some will exploit our properties and neighborhoods for their connie profits even to the point of outlawing pickup trucks with ladders owned by private citizens / property owners , so as not to upset the cronie and their patrons aesthetic sensitivities .

    now we discuss parking stickers to provide for the miramar theater attack on our neighborhood parking,,, but don’t provide a sticker / pass for the hundreds of blue collar workers in town who rely on a ladders and a standard pickup truck to provide for their families and mortgage / rent

    my peaceful protest is i’m not cutting my hair until you change the law ( mom and dad ) and my petition with hundreds of signatures has been ignored resulting in cronie and snob laws .that trample on equal rights and tolerance that has been the norm for 100 years plus

    i challenge you mayor BROWN to a cage match to court or to agendize and change these shameful laws ? , after all its not the ladder or the pickup truck ,its just abuse by council to the point of the sheriff department’s refusal to even enforce these cronie laws against our tax paying blue collar citizens

    a sticker for our independent businessmen and woman and or blue collar workers with pu trucks would help cap abuse by larger businesses with fleets and provide for those who cant afford to work out of a van or carry a ladder on a prius

    wishing all a happy safe healthy holiday and new year and equality

    and to the out of town and intown cronies and snobs and their aesthetic sensitivities
    bah humbug

    mayor tim will you have mayor hours and can we get together to discuss the cage match and book ????? ::::::: ( -:P

  • Mayor Brown,

    With all due respect, the statistics your quote regarding enforcement are not remotely accurate. With no enforcement available on night and weekends until just recently, who were the residents to call when an enforcement issue arose?
    From first hand experience, most violations went unreported. The main issue here is that the residents have become the main enforcement arm of the city and put into a position where we never should have been. These mini hotels should not have been allowed in the first place and the residents are paying the price.
    Now with the Coastal Commission involved we ask that you and the Coucil please stay the course and maintain our zoning as described in the Ordinance. Our quality of life depend on it.

comments (2)

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>