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Contra Costa County weighs restrictive short-term rentals ordinance

A prospective ordinance governing short-term rentals in unincorporated parts of Contra Costa County is scheduled to be discussed by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors at their Tuesday meeting.

Earlier this year, the supervisors asked county staff to send a questionnaire to each of the 12 Municipal Advisory Councils serving as advisory bodies to the supervisors.

Among the key aspects of the draft ordinance that got notable support from the MACs are requirement of a permit to operate a short-term rental; notification of all property owners within 300 feet of the subject property will receive a notice that includes the contact information for the responsible party associated with the permit; a unit may not be rented for more than 90 total days in any calendar year; accessory dwelling units (“mother-in-law” units) may not be operated as short-term rentals; and overnight guest occupancy may not exceed two persons per bedroom, plus two additional persons.

Other restrictions in the draft are that no more than 20 total people would be allowed to gather at any short-term rental unit, and that no “special events” (conferences, weddings or any commercial event) would be allowed.

Unless otherwise directed by the supervisors, the draft short-term-rental ordinance will be submitted to the Contra Costa County Planning Commission for review.

Contra Costa County currently has no ordinance regulating short-term rentals in its unincorporated areas. Several cities have crafted similar ordinances. After the Halloween night shooting that left five people dead at a party at a short-term rental unit, Orinda recently approved an emergency ordinance banning “non-hosted” rentals altogether, and placing new limits on “hosted” venues. Danville has banned all such rentals.

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