Sonoma County to consider temporary moratorium on new vacation rental permits

Posted on May 5, 2022 by Sonoma Valley Sun

A sudden spike in applications has prompted the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to consider a 45-day moratorium on new vacation rental permits.

The rush of applicants are liking trying to lock in a permit before an updated vacation-rental ordinance — under study now Permit Sonoma — comes before the board on Aug. 2.

But in the meantime a 500-percent increase in applications moved the board to consider the temporary moratorium. It will vote on that May 10.

While vacation rentals play an important role in Sonoma County’s tourism economy, “they also have the potential to cause detrimental impacts and pose a risk to the public safety, health and welfare of the county and its residents,” according to county spokesperson Bradley Dunn.

The issue has been under study since December of 15, 2020, when the board first directed staff to undertake a comprehensive Vacation Rental Program update to address the negative impacts.

On March 17, 2022, the Sonoma County Planning Commission held a public hearing on these proposed revisions but voted to continue the public hearing pending additional staff work. That’s the report due August 2.

Meanwhile, there has been an approximately 500 percent increase in vacation rental permit applications received by Permit Sonoma. The board’s response is to consider a temporary moratorium.

“Issuing numerous vacation rental permits in areas that may be subject to additional regulations would undermine the current planning effort to protect the public from the negative impacts of vacation rentals that are improperly sited, over-concentrated or under-regulated,” Dunn said.

If approved by a four-fifths majority of the Board of Supervisors, the moratorium would apply to new vacation rental permits submitted after May 10.

The moratorium would not apply to existing vacation rentals, hosted rentals, rentals in the Coastal Zone, or any complete applications for new vacation rentals submitted prior to the moratorium.

The public can participate in the Board of Supervisors hearing on the moratorium or submit comments directly to Permit Sonoma at [email protected].

Information on how to participate in the meeting and meeting materials can be found on the Board of Supervisors’ calendar.

Sonoma Sun | Sonoma, CA