For anyone that has followed my journey to get a property in the R-4 “legally allowed” zone in Santa Barbara permitted since August of 2015, you know that it is IMPOSSIBLE to get the permit. Well guess what, not only is it impossible, we have come to find out, for 1 unit, it is actually not required!!!
28.88.028 Permit Required; Exceptions.
EXCEPTIONS TO REQUIREMENTS FOR CONVERSION PERMITS.
The following shall be exempt from the provisions of this Chapter:
1. A project creating a condominium, hotel or similar use and using no more than one (1) existing dwelling
unit as part of said project shall not be considered a conversion.
Straight out of the 40 year old municipal code (for hotels) they are trying desperately to apply, there you have it. So what is the City of Santa Barbara choosing to do? Yep, you guessed it, completely ignore the code!
Did you also know that you do NOT need to have a business license to operate a hotel according to the code, let alone a short term rental if you are less than 3 units…this is something they hold firmly to and say is the REASON you cannot do anything with your property in Santa Barbara until you get that “business license”.
SECTION 5.04.390 OF THE BUSINESS AND TAX CODE CLASSIFICATIONS – motels and hotels (3 or more rental units) only. It also goes on to say that the business license is “confined to construction comprising three (3) or more units and even refers to “hotels”. So where do they even make up this stuff?
All these “made up truths”, “interpretations”, “vague ordinances” is what the city of Santa Barbara is attempting to do right now to harass, entrap, entangle and instill fear and suffering in all of us right now that own properties in the legal and allowed zones in Santa Barbara.
We formed a group last year as NO ONE in the R-4 zones of Santa Barbara have been able to get the permit (which is not required as provided in the hotel code) to vacation or short term rent your property for less than 30 days in the city of Santa Barbara in 2 years!
Yes 0 permits in 2 years.
My client has spent over $40,000 and gone no where AND to add insult to injury was issued an enforcement case not too long ago. So what does this tell you?
IT’S A BAN ON SHORT TERM RENTALS.
IT’S TAKING AWAY PROPERTY RIGHTS FOR THOSE OF US THAT ARE ALLOWED TO RENT FOR LESS THAN 30 DAYS, AND THAT THE CITY NEVER REQUIRED A PERMIT FOR EVER BEFORE, IN THE LEGAL ZONES.
The City of Santa Barbara staff were given $180,000 directed towards enforcement of short term vacation rentals in ALL ZONES. Enforcement staff are heavy handed in coming after owners (and seldom challenged) in the allowed use areas and have no problem issuing 10 page city attorney’s settlement agreements to these owners that basically state they will cease and desist, give city full reign for future search and seizure of their properties and pretty much do a hell of a job “scaring law abiding citizens” into submission. I have to ask, are these enforcement officers and city attorney’s office working ethically when they cite erroneous “beliefs” and “citations” that “lead them to believe” these owners are renting for less than 30 days.
It’s truly a “fishing expedition” with no proof, a sprinkle of fairy dust and the hope that one rabbit might jump out of a hat. All the while, providing the perfect recipe for emotional duress, pain and suffering and economic losses for those in the legal zones while our city continues to implode with businesses closing, ultra expensive hotels being erected all over and a police department that feels like homeless panhandlers have more rights than we do.
And what does the California Coastal Commission say about Santa Barbara policy on short term rentals…they are completely against them classifying us as hotels, would like them to update their ordinance to include a definition of a short term rental as one does not exist right now and we have a letter that goes into detail about how this all serves as a ban and impacts low cost visitor serving accommodations as provided for in the Coastal Act.
Did you catch something I mentioned a couple paragraphs ago…I said owners in the “allowed use zones” of Santa Barbara are being enforced? Did you remember that in 2 years not 1 property owner in R-4 has been granted a permit? Did you also remember that the code actually exempts 1 unit from being converted and city staff refuse to follow this exemption? Are you following me here….
When things don’t seem to add up….they can only add up to one thing…agendas….political AND personal.
If you have received an enforcement case for a short term vacation rental in the city of Santa Barbara and are in the allowed use zones, please contact us. We have both an attorney representing us right now on numerous fronts and experienced local planner helping us in both challenging the city on their 40 year old code and also what city staff is attempting to do in taking away our property rights. Without going into detail on a public blog, suffice to say, we have our ducks in a row and have been working on this for quite some time.
I cannot give you legal advice as I am not an attorney, however I can tell you that you have a very small window to respond to these city of Santa Barbara enforcement cases. It’s 10 days, I believe. I do not recommend signing any settlement agreement without first speaking with attorney Joseph Liebman or another local attorney familiar with this. If you are located in a residential zone, I can give you the name of a local attorney that is dealing with some people in the residential zones however, we are not involved with those areas. The planner we have been using is Jarrett Gorin and he is well-versed in the process to permit in the allowed use zones.
Our group is R-4 Property Rights. We are at every Planning Commission Hearing and City Council Meeting. We have managed to get both of these groups to see what has been happening to us over the course of 2 years and start to institute change however, we are not super confident our elected officials will not be swayed by these “agendas” of city staff and others in our community at this moment. The direction of our great city is sadly going terribly wrong at the moment and has been for some time. To see that we have this gift that could generate additional revenue for our city with endless possibilities to help start funds for affordable housing, homelessness, you name it, we could help start something great in the allowed use areas of Santa Barbara.
We see it far too often these past few years that our city staff and elected officials are short sighted and do not rely on us to help problem solve the issues that face us and let bureaucracy ultimately beat us all down. We have rights to protect and we have a plan. We will not be backing down and we do hope you will join us.
R-4 Property Rights Group