By George Miller
On 11-5-19, The Oxnard City Council debated proposed rules for short term rentals, amid a background of passionate pleas from pro and anti-short-term rental stakeholders. This debate has been very strong statewide, especially in beach areas- like Oxnard. Evolving legislation and court rulings, as well as the Coastal Commission pressure to provide “coastal access” have complicated matters. Per Mayor Flynn, Oxnard has been debating this for five years and had 10 related public meetings. It appears that they are getting closer to hammering out an initial compromise.With some changes, they approved a first reading, with the next review in two weeks.
The Council approved ballot language for Aaron Starr’s Oxnard Government Accountability and Ethics Act which he submitted petition signatures for last week.
Ventura County Community Foundation gave a brief summary of the County State of the Region Report 2019.
The National PAL boxing championships, which is an Olympic qualifying event will run until Saturday. Public is invited- 350 K St.
Item C- Closed session legal results announced by City Attorney
Kittle case settled
Opiod case briefed
Adopted Box Canyon ground water allocation
Council was briefed on status of labor negotiations and provided some input
D-1- Presentation by Oxnard School Superintendent
No written materials or visual aids were offered.
Superintendent Karling Aguilera-Fort said that he is an immigrant from Venezuela, only in his position a few months.
He has been meeting with groups of students on their experience and how they think the district should do the work. The district wants to make sure it meets the needs of community. Kids are the ones who pay your salaries, he claimed he advised teachers. Board of Education wants collaboration with city- City Mgr, Oxnard Police Dept and other entities. He didn’t get specific about what he learned and what, if any changes would be made. But, he did reveal that a 160 day report is due in January.
Mayor Flynn previously told Citizens Journal that meetings with local businesses revealed that soft communication/presentation skills of students entering the labor force were a priority.
Sandy Smith (Center for Public Dialogue Committee Chair) introduced Dave Merren (Vice Chair and State of the Region Committee Chair), who did a rapid-fire summary of what he thought were highlights of their State of the Region report. Some visual aids start on page 9 of the agenda packet. You can get a full copy via the link above.
He said VCCF is about Economy, Social Equity and the Environment. It sees itself as “neutral convener.”
Avg resident age now 37.5. Oxnard has lowest age, lowest seniors, highest youth
Agriculture is $2 billion of county’s economy.
Oxnard has highest % of Democrats- 55%. More Dems than Republicans in VC (since 2008)
Jobs just now recovering to pre-great recession figures. Many are low paying, not able to support home ownership. Manufacturing, construction are lower. Only education, health care, leisure and hospitality are up significantly. After a significant plunge from a high of 300,000 employed in 2007, the report figures presented indicate that only 4,000 jobs had been added by 2017, with only another 8,000 projected by 2021, far short of needs.
Ventura County is at near recession levels vs a nationwide boom. Why? No answer was forthcoming, but some have suggested that regulation, land use policies, petroleum industry curtailment, lower income-potential population and business-unfriendly environment may have something to do with it. If residents are willing to pay the price, so be it,
Conejo Valley Unified had big drop off in public school students. Simi too. Oxnard is up.
Housing permits at 2500 (down from 4500+ in 2005) doesn’t even keep up with natural births of 8800/yr,
Avg apartment rental is $2100, only 3.2% vacancy rate. Oxnard avg is $1780. Unaffordable for many.
Oxnard households use only 55 gal/day water. Not as hot here, yards aren’t as big.Good air and water quality.
Oil and gas production on a long term downtrend (down almost 75% since the early 1980’s) due to oil price and environmental reasons. Extraction costs are rather high here due to cost of living and nature of remaining deposits.
Students vaping more in wealthier communities.
VC has a significant opioid problem.
VC has one of the lower crime rates in state. Oxnard’s is second highest in the county,
1669 are homeless in the county. The report shows 548 in Oxnard, but city officials often use 700 as the number.
Only a little evidence was presented on quality of life, which is what many people came here (or stayed) for.
Question was asked about the dropout rate. Not answered
Madrigal asked about the struggle with childhood education and high cost of childcare. He said county is lacking in early childhood development. Many residents spend more than 50% of their income on housing. Speaker acknowledged much inequality. It’s hard to have a good quality of life in VC without a good income.
F. Public Comments on Items Not On The Agenda
Mary Rose- Homeless advocate since 1958. Are you serving yourself? Chooses to exercise her constitutional rights. Shasta County required her to spend 21 days there. Claims City demanded $500 for service dog? Late fee of $700? Bryan Bray negotiated. Dog improperly disposed of?
Harold Cejas- Mexico news today. Van with 9 people from Idaho attacked by drug cartel in Mexico. Heard that marijuana is killing people. Youngsters are smoking it. parents should check their backpacks. Marijuana bad for pregnant ladies- wounds their brains of babies. Affects brain functioning. Notice difference in children’s ways. Streets in Colonia aren’t fixed. Priorities seem to be elsewhere.
PW Robinson-Homeless guy, stays at the Armory (shelter). Will suggest solutions. Government can’t help. He objects to city’s “aggression”- “homeless exclusion zone.” He complained, demanding that city cease and desist. City locks bathroom and then pases anti-urination ordinances.
Jackie Tedeschi- Thanks to 1st responders here and other areas. Thanks to city for continuing meeting on budgeting 101 and housing. CFD’s and LMD’s were defined, between newer and older homes. 10-24 Southbank Council has Asst. Police Chief Sonstegard as speaker- good feedback on this. Fisherman’s Wharf meeting is on Thursday, Nov 7. Ready Resilience meeting at FD building
Wendy Leung- VC Star Reporter invites all to event at the PACC- Ventura Storytellers. Ask VC residents to share 1st person authentic first person story.IMCO’s Gabe Teran will be one story teller. Nov 12, 7PM, $12. Storytellersproject.com
Kathy Guerrero- First anniversary of the Borderline . Wants City Council to eliminate possible factors contributing to gun violence.
Steve Guerrero- Objected to over development along and near Victoria and the shores. Impact statement is needed. All development should be on hold until then.
Pat Brown- Having hard time hearing some Council, people and speakers- talk close to mic. Homeless Commission looked into 10 different locations at Homeless Commission meeting. Locals do not want shelters in their neighborhoods. Need large buildings with large parking lots. One is two blocks from 5 Corners on Saviers. Has an all glass front, inadequate parking. Panel to find another location. Do you know of one?
Gabe Teran- Fremont South Council Chair- Plugged storytellers PACC session mentioned previously by Wendy Leung. Theme is “blended.” Gabe is a story teller, too.
Luis Garcia- Independent Social Worker with military. Upset about Amtrak train speed limit of 45 mph. Need overpass on Rice, but people are being killed on Oxnard Blvd and other local sites. Encourages you to approach Union Pacific (Clkin 916-789-6015?). Wants fencing. Spoke to Olivia Urban of Amtrak also about reducing train speed limit. Federal railroad official told him to get them to do it voluntarily.
Wendy Lee- Local govt info dates back to the Mayflower. Mayflower Compact for common good. Federal govt and local govt was formed. Crucial local issue requiring a city council vote is Thursday’s special meeting on Fisherman’s Wharf project. Consider proposed LCP (Local Coastal Plan)amendment,. which would cause Oxnard to lose jurisdiction and not serve public well. Privatizes public land to generate money for wealthy LA developer. Misleading plan.
Sandra McLaughlin- Fisherman’s Wharf LCP amendment should be denied. Inconsistent with at least 20 LCP policies. Don’t amend to accommodate one project. Violates coastal access to all. Blocks views on California Coastal Trail. Inappropriate seizure of public land. Deserves higher scrutiny. Deny it.
G- City Manager Report
City Mgr. Nguyen: Special conversation next week on future of mobility, on autonomous cars and parking. At PACC 6:30 Nov 13.
National PAL last chance to make Olympic boxing team events! Go watch at 350 S K St- through Saturday. This is an Olympic qualifying event.
Lopez- Encourages attending PAL boxing championships. Was on Housing panel in Camarillo, local control.
Perello- Ditto PAL event. Terrel Harrison did a hell of a job bring in this event. Pointed out that 40 race horses died at racing tracks last year. VC Board of Suvpvs. discussed oil/gas drilling. Does County have info that we should stop? Is water in jeopardy? RR overcrossing was supposed to have been done when old St John’s closed. NPR :Moth hour” worth your time.
Ramirez- Attended CA League of Cities. Will attend SCAG (Southern California Association of Governments) meeting Thurs to vote on accepting region of 6 counties 1.3MM new housing units for next 8 years, Don’t want Oxnard to be the only city with a quota burden. Went to Climate change/sea rise symposium. Sees danger. Homeless situation on the beach (Ormond Beach). Want action on pedestrian and bicycle tragedies. VC Bd of Supvs continued drilling moratorium- unanimous.
Madrigal- attended various local events including CERT graduation, Halloween and Dia des Muertes events. Thursday is 1 year anniversary of Borderline shooting- blessings.
Flynn- Nov 11 Veteran;s day. City downtown parade, celebration at Plaza Park10 am. Was at CA League of Cities Conference. Forge common interest and pressure on CA legislators/depts to meet needs. Camping ordinance went into effect Nov 1. 20 arrests made. trying to get shelter residents into housing. Goal is to place all 700 homeless into housing.
K- Consent agenda
K-3,4,8 pulled for discussion by Perello:
3- will committee meeting dates be addressed? Yes.
4- Henry T. Oxnard Historic site, tax assessments lowered. Do disabled apparatus affect historic designation? Lambert- probably not,.
8- Residents should know where crosswalk lights will go., (Map is on p 144.)
MacDonald- not a fan of joint use agreements. Would like someone else in charge of maintenance for historic site in the future.
Tony Tellemonte- Representing Rio School District re K-9 CFD land maintenance contract for Rio Del Mar campus in Riverpark.
Pat Brown- Re: K-5- SB-2 grant application. We need a lot more housing. Take control of vacant local land and build housing on it.
Unidentified speaker – in favor of maintenance contract for field and gym CFD pass-through, with district managing it,
Consent agenda approved unanimously 7-0.
City Mg. Nguyen- New Council voting system to bring us into the 20th century. Can be used to request permission to speak and to punch in their votes. Now available. Votes are tallied and displayed. Not hackable, he. claimed- safe from Russian intrusion. Flynn: “da.” I am not making this up. This conversation actually took place :-).
L-1- Public Hearing for Issuance of Exempt Facility Bond- finance or refinance the acquisition, rehabilitation and development of a 252-unit multi-family rental housing project located at 1924 and 1928 Camino Del Sol, 1805 and 1915 San Gorgonio, and 100 and 320 North Rose Avenue, Oxnard, California (known as The Holiday Manor Apartments);
$68MM tax-exempt bond is up for approval to finance it.
Housing Dept. willl designate some Section 8 subsidized housing units in the project.
MacDonald- Wanted clarification that city has no liability. Correct, per Emilio Ramirez. Owner’s rep said they have no intention of raising rents. Just needs a refresh. This will be done with tenants in place. Will extend affordable provisions for 55 years.
Perello- How come this was never in committee? E. Ramirez- It’s really not our money, just a routine item. Perallo not comfortable with that.
Vote 6-0 for, Madrigal abstaining (lives close by).
I-2- Planning and Zoning permit for Short-Term Rentals (STR’s)
After many complaints by neighbors of disruptive activity by renters and lack of cooperation, the city was persuaded to study the situation and write regulations to control/mitigate problems. Most of the problem is in the beach areas, zoned residential. Most council members have been approached by or talked to people on all sides of this issue.
City has been “bombarded” by correspondence on this matter. This has been under study/debate for 5 years.
Victoria Chandler (Harbor Island)- Wants Harbor Island excluded. 15% of the 129 units may be rented at any time, must be at least 12 months, no transient usage, tenants responsible for HICOA rules. Presented a unanimously approved permission of board of directors and 60 residents.
Mr Hirshman- Owns a beach house in Mandalay Beach. Sometimes rents out. Collects transient occupancy tax. Managed the lawsuit against Mandalay Beach Assoc. Supports reasonable regulation to address irritants. Objects to limits on permits, fines, distances between units. Says behavior of renters is better than the community as a whole. Stereotype of renters as partying frat boys is a myth. STR owners not destroying Oxnard’s sense of community. Units enhance community reputation. STR’s do not lower property values. Generates substantial city revenue. Regulations are unfair to owners who purchased property under existing rules.
Deidre Frank- My home was zoned RB-1, not hotel, not apartment. I had to call police – about rental behind my house for noise- again. People were brought there in a mini-bus. Like the city recommendations but wants even greater separation
Charles Boyd- We have a nice jewel of a city.Outsiders are attempting to profit from the ambience we have here. STR’s should be limited to 3%, 200 ft between units, substantial fines for nuisances- one month’s rental.
Angela Slapp- Oxnard Shores. We have been inundated with short term rentals. Seven on my block. I have no idea of who is on my street- sex offenders, etc? AirBNB doesn’t check. regulation doesn’t limit number of daytime guests. Wants 200 ft. separation between units.
Kathy Guerrero- Oxnard Shores- This issue taking a big toll on my health. STR’s used to be by close family and friends. Never saw parties or disturbances. AirBNB changed all of that. Now have on line bookings to strangers- just like hotels. No on-site property managers, located just feet from our residences. Why are you proposing a commercial model that is less regulated than a hotel?
Steve Guerrero- Why are you rewarding someone who is not on the books? I requested an inventory of where this money goes. City doesn’t know. SCAG said must build X amount of houses a year- this would decrease them (he didn’t say how). You will want to change this in a couple of years. STR’s will not be a benefit to the community.
Pat Brown-55 years ago, I went to wild parties at houses people rented. They said bring all your friends. Owners/property managers should be much closer. Can’t park locally. (ran out of time)
Walter Haggidon- Oxnard Shores is an economically diverse area. More beach access was provided. STR’s not make any positive contribution to the community, Proposed regulations mitigate impact. Suggest some changes to them- New construction should not permit STR. Neptune Square area should be allowed to operate. Separation should be greater- 200 ft minimum.
Diane Delaney- Ban all amplified music. Require manager to ensure violation is corrected. Create public website for complaints, resolutions. Why have a 12 month nonconformance permitted.? These are illegal commercial operations in residential areas. STR tuns housing into hotels. At least 30 shootings at AirBNB rentals since May. Megan’s law mandates disclosure of sex offenders- how will you do this?
Lori Holland- Represents Mandalay Shores Vacation Resort in Mandalay Shores.- Asking to be excluded from ordinance or we will not survive. We are priced well, pay transient taxes, do insurance/displaced rentals. Follow good practices, have on-site nmgr. 24 hr. call center.
Bob Murphy- STRs have contributed to a shortage of housing, lessens supply. Need to exclude permitting apartments as STR’s. Have an abusive STR next to him for 13 years. Want 200 ft minimum separation. Next meeting on Nov 19.
Robert Dushane- Thanks for council/staff effort. October Rosenblatt and Santa Monica case ruling had League of Cities Amicus brief. City should have overriding influence with STR’s. Encouraged city to read and heed.
Nancy Lindholm- Don’t condone disturbance of anyone’s peace. Have noisy, partying neighbors. Horror stories are from unregulated rentals. Do regulate areas fare better? Opposed to the 100 ft and 5% caps. Opposed to 1 STR owner. Please grandfather places with no complaints,. Regulations are a taking of property.
Sharon Serrel- Hollywood Beach- Can only afford to keep beach home by renting it. Never had any problems. Limiting days rental is not good. Noise and parking issues are already regulated. Have had fireworks problems. 100 ft separation a problem, since house attached to hers is also an STR.
Tony Rondinella- (previous complainant?)- Harbor water amplifies noise. 300-500 ft radius would be better. Too many people are a problem. There are 4 STR’s within a 100′ of us.
Rita Weiss- Consider limitation proposed. The solution is better management. We self-manage, have strict requirements, no parties or events, limit on number of people, good neighbor policy, have 6-8 parking spaces, have 5 star reviews. County allows 365 days rentals. Urge modifying- 20- days, reconsider 100 ft separation, consider loss of income, less construction. Marriott is already doing STR’s.
Perry Fergusen- (contractor)- I also take care of rentals for owners. Solution is proper management by City, police, owners and renters, who should be held responsible.
Idion Galer?- Has cleaning service. New rules would be devastating to her business.
Julie Pena- (Oxnard Shores)- this has been 5 years in the making. Staff has done a great job. Want 200-300 ft separation. Homelessness and housing shortage are related. Don’t let apts be STR’s.
Flynn asked City Atty to comment on exceptions. Colony was exempted, Harbor Island wants it, too. City atty. Rozelle- says Colony CC&R’s look OK. Harbor Island may not also meet those standards.
Lopez- Neighborhoods not meant to be hotels, but STR’s do allow coastal access. Don’t agree it has an impact on housing stock. Have you (owners?) had conversations with neighbors to address those issues? Can the cost of enforcement be paid for with fees. Lambert (Development) says they will do that. How does amplified music provision differ from current rules? Lambert- NO amplified music at any level in quite hours,
Perello- Must address Megan’s Law (identifying sex offenders). Re: noise. Should inform police. Why allowing legal businesses to run? Do we stop all businesses? Slipped through the cracks. decision will make no one happy. Will be revisited later. Want more than 100 ft separation. How to verify number of people. What about oversized vehicles? Why do certain areas of the city get a pass? What are nose regulations. considerations? When can people complain? Lambert- complaint results in a code compliance activity the next day. What about permit process/selection? Lambert- owners with a good record might have preference, still formulating the rules.
MacDonald (teaches law)- When a homeowners association is formed, they formulate CC&R’s- can a city overrule those CC&R’s? Atty. Rozelle: Greenfield v Mandalay Shores- HOA could not enforce ban, only city could. MacDonald- what about if the HOA was formed BEFORE the changes? Rozelle said city does not have a definitive answer. MacDonald- Is a timeshare same as STR? Lambert- No, if it is operated as a timeshare. But if it is rented during downtime, regulation would apply. MacDonald pointed out that we probably wouldn’t know if this was being done. Wants wider separation between STR’s.
Ramirez- Difficult issues, need to find a balance. Not looking primarily at revenue, but quality of life and property rights. Misbehavior of renters/partiers has been a problem. STR’s impact availability of housing. Want to see accomodation of good neighbor owners. 100 ft distance is too short. Want to see Harbor Island treated equally to the Colony. My vote is in favor of people who live here. We must bring some order.
Basua- Community affected most doesn’t want STR’s- they want their neighborhood back. This will continually come back to us. Offenders will not follow the rules. How can the city make sure that people affected will be taken care of. She doesn’t see how we can regulate the timeshare,
Madrigal- Is this only for the beach community? Lambert- 2 regs- one for coastal zone, one for rest of community. Madrigal- how does one regulate if I have “roommates” every weekend? How about code enforcement after 5 o’clock?
Flynn- This has evolved over 5 years and ten public meetings. This is not like ” laws are like sausage making.” Amplified music could include an I-Phone? Lambert- yes. When are quiet hours? Lambert 10 PM to 7 am. Existing quiet rules are by decibel level. STR proposed rules are for ANY amplified music.
MacDonald- What about amplified music inside an STR house?
Perello- Not just music, any amplified sound.
Flynn- Remove #5 (see chart above) and standard city regs would applied. He visited Channel Islands Shores (25 units) and Mandalay Resort (7 units) at Neptune Square. Not a lot of usage for STR’s. He said timeshare stays are mostly a week and STR stays were 2-3 days.
Nguyen- “Old economy” owners who have rented without incidents for many years should not be punished because of “new economy” AirBNB renters.
It was clear that staff hasn’t thought through how STR permit holders will be selected.
Changes to the regulation:
Perello motion to increase separation to 200 ft.
Time shares should be exempt, but only for time share activity
Debating what to do about Harbor Island’s request for exemption. They decided to hold up on this for now, since it requires Coastal Commission approval.
Vote results- Unanimous 7-0
It being after 10 pm, the council voted to stay and address all agenda items.
L-3- California Building Standards Regulations.
To adapt to CA building codes, “tiny house” standards and some for local conditions.
No presentation, just a couple of questions by Perello.
Perello- Do fire regs affect new or old buildings? Lambert- New and remodels. Perello- what about buildings without adequate fire hydrant water supply? Development- Yes, we check all designs. Install fire pump if needed.
Vote- Unanimous- 7-0
M-1- Paul Wendte exception to CALPERS 180 day restrictions
No details discussed, no debate.
Vote was unanimous 7-0
M-2 Ballot Language for Oxnard Accountability and Ethics Act be placed on March Primary ballot.
These are the five ballot initiatives from Aaron Starr. Petitions signatures were submitted and verified last week.
Who will sign arguments/rebuttal? All voted 7-0 to accept.
George Miller is Publisher/Co-Founder of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard.