Marin County temporarily halts new short-term rental applications in Stinson Beach and other coastal towns

Marin County supervisors voted on Tuesday to temporarily ban new vacation rental applications along the county’s coast and in the San Geronimo Valley while officials develop a longer-term plan to balance tourism and local housing requests.

The county will not accept any new applications for licenses to run short-term rentals for 45 days while authorities develop strategies to ease a housing crisis that has left workers without affordable housing and employers with labor shortages. ‘work. The rules will not affect vacation rentals currently in operation, and the county will review all applications already received starting Tuesday.

At least 10% of all residential lots in West Marin are managed as vacation rentals, according to a county study. The ratio is even more extreme in Stinson Beach where 22% of all homes are allowed to rent less than 30 days. County staff told supervisors the data may be understated because some plots contain multiple vacation rentals and some landlords have not applied for legal clearance.

“We have lost our communities,” said Albert Straus, founder and managing director of Straus Family Creamery.

Speaking at Tuesday’s board meeting, Straus said he supported restrictions on short-term rentals because he believes they are partly to blame for the destruction of housing for the workforce. work, reduced school enrollment and the displacement of businesses like his from the region.

“The status quo is neither acceptable nor sustainable,” Straus said.

Marin County’s temporary ban on new vacation rentals echoes a similar moratorium in Sonoma County, where authorities are also trying to balance between allowing homeowners to earn income from their homes and a persistent shortage of housing which has combined with rising costs.

Supervisor Dennis Rodoni, who proposed the moratorium and represents most of the coast, acknowledged that legally operating short-term rentals have brought in $7 million in tax revenue to the county over the past ten months. But he said a “time out” of new vacation rentals on the Marin coast is important to ensure local communities can thrive.

“The question is, what is the balance needed to maintain our local villages and serve our visitors at the same time?” said Rodoni.

All five county supervisors voted in favor of the temporary measure and spoke of the need to study further restrictions.

Many speakers commenting for the council supported the moratorium and described an unsustainable loss of housing in their neighborhoods.

But some residents said the restrictions go against the rights of private landlords to control their property investments. Clayton Smith, a Marin County resident, criticized restrictions on how homeowners use their homes as a “harm to their financial well-being.”

Another resident encouraged supervisors to find ways to prioritize people like her who rent out their properties to part-time visitors in order to pay them and maintain them for their families.

Katie Beacock, longtime owner of Seadrift Realty in Stinson Beach, which sells homes and manages vacation rentals, said she was also upset with how her community had changed due to a lack of affordable housing for people. local residents, though she wondered if vacation rentals were the prime culprit.

“Building more housing is probably number one, but I’m here to be part of the solution, I’m not here to be an opponent,” Beacock said.

Julie Johnson (her) is a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter @juliejohnson.

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