The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) will investigate whether recent votes cast by San Luis Obispo County 2nd District Supervisor Bruce Gibson to deny vacation rentals licenses in Cayucos, where he lives, violated conflict-of-interest laws, according to the state agency.
Los Osos resident Julie Tacker filed the complaint against Gibson with the FPPC in April. Tacker alleged that Gibson's votes on Cayucos vacation rentals could impact his property value, and therefore presented a conflict of interest.
On May 10, the FPPC responded that it would investigate the allegation to determine if any violation occurred.
"Be advised that we have not made any determination about the validity of the allegation or about the culpability of the person you identify in your complaint," the FPPC's response read.
Gibson, who's running for re-election on June 5, denied Tacker's allegation and forwarded New Times a letter he sent to the FPPC in response to her complaint.
"No evidence suggests that my property is at all affected by granting or denying a vacation rental permit," Gibson wrote. "I therefore conclude that any asserted effect on my property is only speculative, hypothetical, or theoretical."
Most vacation rental licenses in SLO County are issued administratively over the counter, but, if denied, they can be appealed to the Board of Supervisors. Gibson has openly opposed the expansion of vacation rental homes in Cayucos—a community with the most vacation rentals per capita in all unincorporated SLO, according to public records—for their neighborhood impacts.
"Mr. Gibson has taken a strong and biased position in opposition to permitting any new short-term vacation rentals in his district," Tacker wrote in her complaint. "He is especially vocal about them in the communities of Cayucos and Cambria where he owns property."
The votes under scrutiny include decisions on two vacation rental applications on Pacific Avenue—about 1,300 feet from his residence—and on Bakersfield Avenue, a little less than a mile from his residence. Tacker's partner, real estate agent Jeff Edwards, represented the applicants for both Pacific Avenue vacation rentals.
If Gibson's votes are ruled a conflict of interest, he could receive a fine and/or be barred from voting on future vacation rentals in Cayucos. Δ