Garden Grove

Council, public discuss short-term rentals

SHORT-TERM rentals were a topic of discussion at Tuesday’s meeting of the Garden Grove City Council.

By Jim Tortolano

A discussion of short-term rentals consumed more than two hours of comments from the public and city leaders at Tuesday’s meeting of the Garden Grove City Council.

The council heard a report on enforcement of the city’s ban on rentals of less than 30 days from Allison Wilson, code enforcement manager. Violations of the law carry a daily $1000 fine (and a possible six-month jail term) and 68 such businesses have been cited, she said.

That was followed by nearly two dozen comments from the audience, which was almost equally divided between supporters and opponents of a growing but illegal business practice in residential neighborhoods.

Supporters of STRs argued that their businesses improved many buildings, attracted visitors to the city who spent money in the community, and sought to be good neighbors. Opponents complained that short-term rentals often brought problems with noise, litter and parking, as well as reducing the stock of houses available to people want to by single-family homes.

While the item on the agenda, as Mayor Steve Jones pointed out, was for information only, several council members weighed in on concept of whether STRs should be legal or not.

Jones noted that there were many changes going on in the economy and that perhaps someday the city might take a different approach. “Before we race to say we should throw everyone in jail or allow it, we should think this thing through,” he said.

Mayor Pro Tem and District 4 council member Phat Bui suggested that while allowing STRs citywide in single family zones was not a good idea, he might support designating a “small area” for such uses.

Councilmember Kris Beard didn’t agree, saying, “I don’t think the benefits outweigh the burdens.”

Councilmember John O’Neill (District 2) said “I’m not in a rush to change anything. I’m in favor of keeping the ban in place.” Councilmember Stephanie Klopfenstein (District 5) urged neighbors who spotted the illegal STRs to use a complaint form available on the city’s website to help code enforcement.

Also on Tuesday night, the council on a 7-0 vote approved the payment of about $218,000 to two firms to prepare documents to help New Age Garden Grove LLC to meet state and national environmental reviews. The money will be reimbursed to the city by developer.

New Age is planning to construct a 560-room Nickelodeon Resort on a 10-acre site at the northwest corner of Harbor Boulevard and Twintree Avenue. The project will include two buildings between 14 and 18 stories tall with 164,000 square feet of retail and resort amenities on the first two floors, and 500 guestrooms and 60 timeshare units above, comprising 600,000 square feet.

 

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