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 only 250 feet 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 3 vacation rentals are approved within 300 feet of one another and your quiet little neighborhood hosts the traffic of a hotel, potentially seeing as many as 24 people with 12 cars at any given time. 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.
A petition with overwhelming support of the community will show the Board of Supervisors a strong collective voice for density requirements that uphold preservation of our residential single-family community. We need density requirements, and we need them now!