A neighbor recently approached me in desperation over the constant disruptive activity from the vacation rental (“VR”) across the street. This permitted rental is constantly out of control; on complaint, management states they can do nothing about it, “call the police”. They are so desperate for peace and quiet they are considering selling their house at a financial loss and moving to a community that does not allow VRs in residential neighborhoods. They are concerned they will have to disclose the VR and must accept a devalued offer because of the VR proximity. They are currently trying to decide to move forward at a loss or wait to see if the new ordinance will solve the problem so they may comfortably remain in their home.
It is believed in the real estate community that converting a traditional residential rental into a VR can add up to $200k worth of value. Adjacent properties (typically 4 or more) go down in value due to ONE property owner receiving special privileges of a VR permit. This could be seen as a taking by eminent domain wherein the city through its actions has created a special class of properties within a residential zone without due process thereby reducing property values around them. The VR ordinance as written could be considered arbitrary ‘spot zoning’ rather than complying with normal protocols of changing the zoning ordinance in the general plan. There may be as many as a thousand or more surrounding properties in the city of MB who could suffer a significant reduction in value due to a specific and intentional action by the city.
Nothing in the proposed VR ordinance speaks to the granting of special privilege or the preservation of public health, safety and welfare. This is language typically included in permits such as the proposed VR draft. Leaving out this language attempts to circumvent the general plan, creating a class of properties wherein no due process is required to achieve this special status.
If the typical VR property goes up $200k and the adjacent 4 properties go down in value an estimated $50k each, this loss of value may be attributed to the city’s action. If 1000 properties surrounding 250 VRs in the city of MB each go down $50k, that is equivalent to a loss of $50 MILLION dollars. Does it sound outrageous that the city could take an action that could cost the residents of Morro Bay $50M? It’s already been done! The WRF project was relocated under protest and threat of lawsuit by an individual city council candidate and her neighborhood which caused the city to abandon its pursuit of the Righetti property in favor of significantly more expensive S Bay. We now know that this action precipitated by a few individuals petitioning the city for their own personal benefit cost the rest of the community approximately $50M in increased costs for the WRF. Let us NOT repeat this injustice with our VR ordinance!
It is NOT too late to stop the city council from moving forward with the VR ordinance as proposed. Let us enforce the original intent of residential zoning to preclude the use of those properties for commercial purposes. The whole idea that the city needs a VR ordinance to grandfather in and validate what would have originally been viewed as a violation of the zoning ordinance is preposterous. The promoters of the VR ordinance are using big $$ to force the city to validate illegal use of their properties.
Neighbors, at any time, ANY residential property including yours could become a victim of the VR ordinance. It could lower your property value, create difficulties when selling, and create a 24/7/365 stressful environment so damaging you feel you must move, as our neighbors above feel. Please let your city council know that as a resident of the community, you are NOT in agreement with their proposal to create this egregious special benefit for a limited number of residential property owners. Let them know that your right to public health, welfare and safety, and quiet enjoyment of your property must not be infringed on by the city’s special class of vacation rentals.
Eliminate stand-alone VRs completely in residential neighborhoods. Instead, substitute unlimited hosted stays: permitted, and TOT-paying with no cap. This will allow ALL interested residential property owners to contribute to TOT and provide owner-on-site supervised housing opportunities for visitors without creating a ‘special class’ or expecting our police to enforce good neighbor behavior.