Del Mar Planning Commission punts on rules for vacation rentals

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DEL MAR, Calif. – The decision of whether to permit new short-term rentals in the city of Del Mar is once again up to the City Council after the Planning Commission avoided making a decision.

In a vote of 3-2, the commission, which had been tasked with coming up with rules on new vacation rentals last month by the City Council, decided to make no decision on the issue.During the three-hour meeting, planning commission members considered whether short-term rentals as defined by city municipal code would be allowed in residential neighborhoods, allowed in some neighborhoods or be banned in the city altogether.

The planning commission concluded that short-term rentals are not addressed in the municipal code, so until the City Council defines regulations about them, the commission cannot decide whether short-term rentals are a permitted use.

Residents at the meeting expressed frustration at the lack of a decision.

“It’s absurd. I cannot believe we pay them to make these decisions,” said resident Noel Quintana.

Quintana owns a duplex in Del Mar. He told FOX 5 he bought the property two years ago to live in one half and rent out the other. He believes the inaction by the Planning Commission will lead to more inaction by the City Council.

“It’s pathetic. They have in their mind they just don't want this to go forward. They are using all these excuses and all this rhetoric to prevent this thing from any kind of compromise,” Quintana said.

More than a dozen people spoke to the commission Tuesday night in support of allowing short-term vacation rentals . One person voiced opposition.

City officials estimate there are 143 vacation rentals currently operating in Del Mar. There is a temporary moratorium on new short-term rentals.