SLO Council will re-examine a vacation rental ordinance



After receiving substantial public comment over their past few meetings and being prodded by the Chamber of Commerce, the San Luis Obispo City Council officially agreed to reevaluate a 1988 law that bans vacation rentals in the city.

“I think it’s too big of an issue to just say ‘no,’” Councilwoman Carlyn Christianson later told New Times. “I have big concerns about changing our ordinance, but I’m keeping an open mind.”

Christianson confirmed that the council has agreed to a study session on Nov. 12, when community development staff will present a report that outlines and assesses “the various directions we can go,” she said.

Though Christianson cited public comment at council meetings as the primary impetus for the study session, she said a Sept. 30 news release from the SLO Chamber of Commerce was also a factor.

 In the release, Chamber Director of Governmental Affairs Charlene Rosales said the chamber would like to see the city study and possibly reevaluate its current stance on vacation rentals.

“Between promoting business, generating more transient occupancy tax money, and drawing people into SLO—that’s where we see the opportunity to legalize vacation rentals through some kind of defined organization,” Rosales said.

Though vacation rentals through such websites as Airbnb and VRBO are currently illegal, Rosales said many vacation renters have displayed a willingness to pay taxes and obtain business licenses, which she said she finds encouraging.

“A number of our hotel owners actually support legalizing vacation rentals, provided they play by the same rules,” Rosales said. “It’s all about creating a level playing field.”

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