One thing I have learned over last 2 years is that I cannot wait for this nightmare to be over. To see firsthand how shady Santa Barbara city staff have been is a huge wake up call and frankly my first experience in, and swift exit out, of politics.
What I do know is that our property rights are being slowly chipped away at daily in the City of Santa Barbara planning department and Santa Barbara city attorneys office by people that are HIRED and PAID by us, the taxpayers. These people are reporting to the Santa Barbara City Council and the facts they are reporting are inaccurate, self-serving and what we have now come to find out, are not legal.
“Interpretations” of code are arbitrary and by no means law. The antiquated 50 year old ordinances they are attempting to apply are overbroad, vague and cannot be applied to vacation rentals or short term rentals. There currently is no definition of either in the Santa Barbara Municipal Code so they have “arbitrarily” called them “hotels“. There were no hearings, no due process, nothing. Just a Santa Barbara City Council meeting (that was inaccurately documented) and that was it! One day it was a Vacation Rental as documented on the City of Santa Barbara Business License and the next morning, it was a Hotel.
The City of Santa Barbara has unclean hands. It PARTICIPATED in this “business” for over 10 years with Vacation Rentals. Issuing business licenses for “Vacation Rentals” (not hotels) in ALL zones, allowing owners to rent for less than 30 days, collect the TOT and remit it to the city. People purchased homes (vacation rentals, not hotels), based on this assurance by the city and that the ordinance did NOT prohibit “Vacation Rentals“. There was no conversion to a “hotel” required. There was no “conversion to hotel” required in the allowed use R-4 zone that is the Hotel -Motel Multi Use Zone since the beginning of time. The California Coastal Commission also recognizes these properties as a residential use and NOT hotels. The City of Santa Barbara is in for a real awakening here in the next couple months.
One lawsuit has been filed with potentially others to follow. Enforcement cases for renting less than 30 days against owners in the legal R-4 zone and residential zones are being sent to property owners every day as a form of entrapment, bullying mechanism, scare tactic, you name it. If you receive one of these letters, please get in touch with us and we can refer you to one of many attorneys that are handling this right now.
In the meantime, here are some recent videos that have been posted to YouTube that highlight some of the controversy surrounding this issue…
Here is a recent feature story on KEYT…
We will not back down. This is about property rights and not allowing city staff to take them away. It is also about not allowing groups in our city to feel as though they are “entitled” and have the right to tell us what we can do with our properties when we are well within our legal rights. We use these “HOMES” part of the year. They are not part of the city’s employee housing stock nor will they ever be. If the city, or these other groups wish to protect housing, then I recommend they focus on purchasing city properties for this cause.
Our privately owned and privately used properties are ours…HANDS OFF! Please find the right target to shoot at, you have the wrong suspect.