The Santa Rosa City Council approved a Short-Term (Vacation) Rental Urgency Ordinance at their Oct. 12 Council meeting. The Urgency Ordinance takes effect immediately and provides a regulatory framework for short-term rental operations within the city limits to preserve public peace, welfare, health and safety and address community compatibility.
The approved Urgency Ordinance requires short-term rental owners to obtain a Short-Term Rental Permit through the City of Santa Rosa for each property that operates as a short-term rental. The City will notify residents residing within 600 feet of a property that is issued a Short-Term Rental Permit.
The Urgency Ordinance defines two types of short-term operators in the City—operators in good standing and new operators. Operators in good standing are those who have registered each short-term rental for the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) and Business Improvement Area (BIA) assessments by Oct. 27, 2021. Operators in good standing will have until Dec. 3 to apply for a Short-Term Rental Permit to retain “operator in good standing” status and must follow all of the Ordinance’s standards and requirements to continue operating while awaiting City approvals. New operators will be allowed to apply for a Short-Term Rental Permit beginning on Dec. 4, but in the meantime, can register for TOT and BIA assessments to prepare for the permit application process. The City’s new Short Term Rental Permit application portal will open in the coming days, and owners/operators may sign up to be notified by email once the application portal is available.
The Urgency Ordinance also identifies where hosted and non-hosted short-term rentals may operate. New and existing hosted rentals, meaning the owner lives and sleeps on the property through the duration of the rental, are permitted throughout Santa Rosa with an approved Short-Term Rental Permit. Non-hosted rentals, meaning the owner is not on the property during the short-term rental period, are allowed with a Short-Term Rental Permit in most residential zoning districts and most commercial zoning districts within the city limits. Starting Dec. 4, newly proposed non-hosted rentals will not be allowed within 1,000 feet of another non-hosted short-term rental.
In addition to obtaining a Short-Term Rental Permit, the Ordinance requires short-term rental owners to:
- Follow and adhere to applicable local, state, and federal codes and laws;
- Limit occupancy of a short-term rental to two people per bedroom to a maximum of 10 people over 3 years old;
- Limit daytime guests to no more than half of the number of guests staying overnight (e.g. if 10 overnight guests are allowed, 5 daytime guests are allowed) and limit the daytime guest visiting hours to between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.;
- Maintain quiet hours from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m.;
- Adhere to parking requirements;
- Prohibit the use of amplified sound onsite;
- Prohibit the use of the property as an event space (wedding, corporate events, etc.);
- Adhere to use requirements for firepits, outdoor fireplaces, and barbeques/grills;
- Install a landline telephone or VoIP line with a battery back-up that is registered to receive SoCoAlerts or the most current, local “Reverse 911” program;
- Post emergency evacuation materials provided by the City of Santa Rosa onsite for all guests;
- Adhere to advertising and listing requirements; and
- Ensure the property remains available for inspection by City staff upon request at any time.
For a full reading of the Urgency Ordinance, visit srcity.org/STROrdinance.
Violations of the urgency ordinance will result in a $500 fine for a first offense. If additional violations are confirmed within one year, the fine increases to $1,000 for a second offense and $2,000 for a third offense plus revocation of the short-term rental permit.
Approval of the Urgency Ordinance was the first step in a phased approach to developing regulations for short-term rentals in Santa Rosa. City staff will next prepare a draft comprehensive short-term rental ordinance to go before the Planning Commission and then to the full City Council for consideration in 2022. The additional time allows greater opportunity to analyze the complex issues associated with short-term rentals and more space for community and stakeholder engagement.
For additional information on short-term rentals in the City of Santa Rosa, including instructions on how to apply for a short-term rental permit, visit srcity.org/STR.