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SCSQUARED halfBy Eric Heinz 

At the Jan. 5 City Council meeting, the temporary moratorium on short-term rentals was voted 3-2, but it was not announced whether the moratorium had been approved. On Wednesday morning, Mayor Bob Baker emailed the San Clemente Times and said the moratorium needed a four-fifths majority vote.

Unlike other ordinances, emergency interim moratoriums need that majority in order to comply with state and local law.

During the meeting, as many as 40 people voiced their opinion during the public forum. Most of the issues brought forth addressed the same or similar issues as have been discussed: noise complaints, foul language from short-term renters, drug use, drinking, excessive partying and the like.

Those who opposed the ordinance defended their position, saying they have been in compliance with the city’s codes, paying their transient occupancy tax and not facilitating odious guests.

Councilmembers said they recognized the issues on both sides but acknowledged that no one said there was a perfect system in place.

Some unusual data was brought forth during the meeting. A chart showing the number of complaints in the last year from short-term rentals was compiled by the city’s Finance Department, not Code Compliance, which is usually the department that oversees the issues. Complaints from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department also had not been compiled. In order to find out who is violating the city’s current codes, the city would have to match the complaints OCSD responds to with the addresses that have filed for a short-term rental permit.

Many people who spoke during the public forum also mentioned a lot of the short-term rentals have been popping up in southwest San Clemente. Homeowners associations in the areas have restrictions against short-term rentals but because the city gave them the permit, homeowners conducted business as such. City staff members said they would look into facilitating a process that prevents this in the future.

The moratorium would have lasted 45 days from the day of its adoption. Depending on what happens next, the city may or may not revisit the moratorium, city officials said.

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