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Santa Ana Council orders moratorium on short-term home rentals

Santa Ana Council orders moratorium on short-term home rentals

SANTA ANA – A 45-day moratorium on short-term rentals like those arranged through Airbnb is effective immediately in Santa Ana after City Council members on Tuesday unanimously passed an emergency ordinance to adopt the ban.

During the temporary ban, city staff are expected to conduct a zoning study for a possible permanent ordinance regulating short-term rentals. It may be considered at the Oct. 20 City Council meeting.

Council members first discussed a moratorium on Sept. 1, five days after West Floral Park residents rallied against Sarah Greenberg’s short-term rental at 2239 N. Rosewood Ave. Greenberg, of Los Angeles, appealed two $ 1,000 citations from the city stating her short-term rental was not a permitted use in the residential area.

Independent administrative hearing officer Barbara Echan issued a ruling on the rental dated Aug. 27, stating that the codes cited in notices to Greenberg do not prohibit short-term rentals and fail to clearly define what is permitted in the residential zone.

“Although the spirit of the law favors the right to quiet enjoyment in neighboring homes and the protection of this close-knit community, the letter of the law cannot be ignored, and allows for a short-term rental loophole until such time as the Santa Ana Municipal Code is revised,” Echan wrote.

In addition, Echan determined that a procedural error occurred because the July 23 and Aug. 3 citations were both mailed on Aug. 3.

“It is therefore reluctantly determined that these contested Citations are INVALID, and the Administrative fine is WAIVED,” she concluded.

Community Preservation manager Alvaro Nunez said the city understands and adheres to Echan’s ruling but stood by city staff’s interpretation of the code that short-term rentals are not permitted in the residential zone.

“The moratorium offers us an opportunity to clarify and have an actual discussion on short-term rentals and where they should be,” Nunez added.

Though the hearing officer ruled for Greenberg, she has decided to cease her short-term rental operation. The home – which she bought for $ 975,000 and remodeled – is up for sale for $ 1.475 million and she is the listing agent.

“The neighbors gathered together and were lying about everything. I never rented it out for parties,” Greenberg said. “I just didn’t want to deal with it.”

Regarding the moratorium, Greenberg said it is up to the city but that she believes short-term rentals could bring “a fortune for the city of Santa Ana” from visitors.

Contact the writer: Contact the writer: 714-796-7762, jkwong@ocregister.com or on Twitter: @JessicaGKwong

The Orange County Register – News Headlines : Real Estate News