Background - April 2019

Los Osos has no official guidelines in place for managing vacation rentals (the use of a residential structure as a rental for transient use for period of less than 30 days). As we wait for the Los Osos Vacation Rental Guidelines to be publicly discussed and approved by the County Board of Supervisors and the California Coastal Commission, permit requests are made each month that are generally inconsistent with these guidelines. For example, the county recently approved a vacation rental next door to an existing licensed vacation rental with another not far away.


California Coastal Commission policies prohibit us from banning vacation rentals in our coastal town. The Los Osos Vacation Rental Guidelines do not ask to ban vacation rentals. Rather, they suggest that with direction and a thoughtful approach, vacation rentals can be successfully woven into our community and still provide opportunities for local employment, businesses, and visitors wishing to enjoy the coast.


Vacation rentals pose serious issues for traffic control, emergency management, and the availability of permanent housing stock in our community. Density is an issue when there's an over concentration of vacation rentals, and your quiet little neighborhood hosts the traffic of a hotel. When too many vacation rentals are allowed in close proximity to one another, the character of the neighborhood changes.


Cal Fire and the Sheriff's Office say the best defense in an emergency or crisis is a neighbor helping a neighbor. There are not enough county resources to respond to a specific neighborhood in a crisis. Help depends on people helping people - neighbors knowing who needs help shutting down their gas line, or who lives alone and may need help.


With the building moratorium in place, Los Osos is basically a no growth town. Every vacation rental takes away a permanent resident and the support that resident or family gives the community. Schools lose students. And just as they depend on us, we depend on our teachers, doctors, veterinarians, churches, yoga classes, hair salons . . . and the list goes on.

The Los Osos Vacation Rental Guidelines adopted into ordinance is the solution. Los Osos does not want to become another Cayucos, Morro Bay or Paso Robles while awaiting the adoption of official guidelines. When vacation rentals are managed so that they are evenly dispersed throughout Los Osos, no single neighborhood or street will be adversely affected.

Board of Supervisors Resolution

Exhibit A - Findings

There are still no formally approved Vacation Rental Guidelines for Los Osos. The county had been approving vacation rental permit applications without consideration for the impact on our neighborhoods. Last year a permit had been issued to a residence adjacent to an existing vacation rental. This permit was appealed. Through our collective community efforts, which included petition, letters, and a large attendance at the County Board of Supervisors meeting in July 2019, we were able to successfully overturn, by a 3 to 2 vote, this permit. With the reversal the applicant for minor use permit was denied, setting a precedent of "unacceptable concentration".


The Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution, directing the Planning Department not to issue a vacation rental permit to a residence that is immediately next door to an existing vacation rental. However, as the narrow vote indicates, much more work needs to be done before the Planning Commission meets on July 9th to review our guidelines.


Thanks to all who wrote letters and attended, and to those who gathered Petition signatures - your presence and articulate statements all added up to represent a community who cares enough to voice what matters most - preserving community.

Please share with your Los Osos friends!

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The Los Osos Vacation Rental Guidelines

How these Guidelines were drafted: Los Osos residents expressed concerns about the negative impact vacation rentals have on their community. Land Use Committee saw this as an opportunity to work with the community by surveying and getting their input. Numerous Land Use Committee meetings were held with public participation over August 2017 through June of 2018. The Los Osos Community Advisory Council then held a public hearing and the Los Osos Vacation Rental Guidelines were approved.