Santa Barbara May Finally Enforce Short-Term Rental Laws

••• The Santa Barbara city council “unanimously voted Tuesday to put $1.175 million toward a Short-Term Rental Enforcement Pilot Program in an earnest attempt to tackle the growing problem [….] Currently, the city permitted 16 short-term rentals in the inland areas: the downtown central business areas, Coast Village Road, Milpas, State Street, San Roque, and Cliff Drive; three are permitted in the coastal zone; and 112 vacation rentals in the coastal area that pay transient occupancy tax but are not technically permitted for that use. But a search of vacation rentals listed as available on Airbnb yielded more than 1,000 active listings in Santa Barbara.” —Independent

••• “Four growers who had obtained zoning permit approvals to plant 163 acres of outdoor cannabis in North County withdrew their applications for business licenses this month, effectively abandoning their operations, county officials said. […] Amid a glut on cannabis in California, the prices for wholesale cannabis flower have plunged by half from their peak of $1,400 in 2020 to about $660 per pound now. The state is believed to be producing three times as much pot as residents can consume—much of it grown in Santa Barbara County—effectively fueling the black market where, by most estimates, two-thirds of the sales are taking place. Statewide, county officials said, the number of active cannabis cultivation licenses has fallen by 20 percent since early 2022, as a host of provisional licenses expired and were not renewed.” —Newsmakers

••• “The Solvang City Council narrowly voted to allow Pride Month banners on street lights for two weeks in June. However, later Monday night and after threats of pro-Second Amendment and Right to Life banners, the council voted to prohibit all non-city banners in the future after already-approved requests by Pride and Solvang Theaterfest are fulfilled this year.” —Noozhawk

••• “Montecito will host four new Flock Automated License Plate Readers. […] These cameras are not being installed to catch speeders, but rather to help sheriffs get valuable leads for major crime investigations. […] A total of 26 cameras will be installed across the county.” —Montecito Journal

••• From a county press release on Edhat: “The County of Santa Barbara broke ground […] on the Regional Fire Communications Center which includes an expansion of the Emergency Operations Center. The Regional Fire Communications Center and Emergency Operations Center expansion is being added onto the existing Emergency Operations Center building located at 4408 Cathedral Oaks Road in Santa Barbara. The construction of the Center is an important step towards the creation of a dispatch center dedicated to calls for Emergency Medical Services and fire response.” The design is certainly a throwback.


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Sam Tababa

Isn’t it great that our highly paid, highly compensated SB city employees never actually have to make and decisions to enact any new rules or changes? All they have to do is shrug their shoulders and the city will simply hire highly compensated. consultants and pay them 20x to do the exact same job that the employees are supposed to do!

What a gig. No accountability. Guaranteed pensions. Guaranteed annual raises. 1/100,000 chance of being fired (and usually only if it’s a felony). Oh, and 30 hour work weeks too! Who needs things done on Fridays anyway.

SB has the highest number of city employees per capita in the State of CA and yet they still cannot perform their duties and seem to require outside consultants for every project, every role…

We should fire 50% of the city’s workforce. Wait a year and see what actually happens. My guess, nothing changes. These people are inept. On almost every measure, Santa Barbara is a broken state. The City government needs to be completely rebuilt.


I agree. They’re experts at disappearing taxpayer dollars via million dollar consulting contracts. I only wish I could somehow become one of the consultants they pay… The public has been giving the city free advice and feedback for years, but they don’t listen and prefer to kick the can down the road with yet another 800k consulting gig for a brand new PowerPoint presentation to tell us all exactly what we already knew…


“Santa Barbara may finally enforce short-term rental laws.”

What is this year-long pilot program really going to do for the town? $1.2mil to prosecute a few bad actors and a lot more long-time, honest citizens who are our neighbors. What will we have after the year is over, and the million is gone? Neighbors in legal trouble and a few mansions on the real estate market to sit unoccupied as second homes. How will this solve our housing crisis?

Prosecuting neighbors who use their property to generate a little income to help them stay in their hometown (or long-lived hometown) is disgusting. Using a home to operate a business is a centuries-old tradition. And after the lawyers have done all their work, taking their “cut” with some of the fines going back into city coffers… they can’t force any of these homeowners to convert into LTR.

So, again, what will this positively do for our town? I’m sure some corporate places that buy homes to only use as investments and STRs will shut down. Great. The city couldn’t go after those exclusively?

And in a time when the annual budget is in a deficit, with more proposed, the Council thinks it’s ok to flush $1.2mil down the toilet? What could that money have gone to fund instead? Schools, libraries, roads… the list is long.

Eric Friedman (council member) asked about the validity of the data, and it was an excellent point. Right now, every STR is going underground or closing up shop, so they won’t be found out.

A not-well-thought-out plan that also wastes a big part of the budget. All so a couple of lawyers and retired cops get a one-year bonus, and a few corporate homeowners get rousted.

Law-abiding Citizen

Every critique I’ve seen of the City choosing to start this pilot program seems to conveniently glance over the fact that these laws are already in place. The “honest citizens” you mention are actively violating the law. Full stop. Their intentions do not matter.

Try not to forget that the law exists and is applied to all citizens, not just ones that you don’t like.