Danville council to examine short-term rentals

Study session to allow discussion about potential regulations or complete ban

The Danville Town Council is set to tackle the issue of whether to regulate short-term residential rentals during a study session Tuesday morning.

The town currently has no ordinance specifically addressing such rentals -- generally defined as rentals of less than 30 days -- but local jurisdictions that opt to adopt legislation on the issue typically either allow short-term rentals with regulations or ban them entirely, according to Danville city attorney Robert Ewing.

The issue appeared on the town's radar earlier this year when Alamatos neighborhood residents complained about a neighbor renting a room through Airbnb and asked Danville officials to establish an ordinance on the topic, Ewing wrote in his staff report to the council. That's the only short-term rental property about which the town has received complaints, he noted.

Town officials researched the issue, finding that the short-term residential rental trend has been "growing rapidly" in general but figuring out an exact number of sites available in Danville "is difficult to ascertain ... and likely varies over time," Ewing said.

Staff reviewed three host websites Aug. 27 and found 15 properties in Danville listed on Airbnb, three on HomeAway and one on VRBO, according to Ewing. Officials estimate there are about 16,000 housing units in the town overall.

Reasons cities choose to adopt policies on short-term rentals include losses of affordable housing stock, transient occupancy tax and hospitality jobs -- none of which are concerns for Danville, Ewing said. Perhaps the most relevant consideration for Danville is neighborhood compatibility, he added.

"A number of cities have determined that short-term rentals are an acceptable land use, so long as they are regulated in order to minimize impacts on the community," Ewing told the council.

The regulations tend to address topics such as maximum number of guests or rooms, a cap on rental days per year, parking requirements, creating permits or fees, and whether to allow the rentals in secondary units or guest homes, according to the city attorney.

On the flip side, cities opting to prohibit short-term rentals in residential districts usually cite one of two reasons: "even with regulation, the use is incompatible with residential uses, or regulation is ineffective because it is too labor intensive for city staff," Ewing said.

He recommends the council receive his report Tuesday, hear any public input and give direction to staff about whether to draft an ordinance regulating or banning short-term rentals for future consideration. Staff is also looking for direction on public outreach and notification on the potential ordinance.

The study session is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Tuesday (Sept. 8) at the town offices, 510 La Gonda Way.

In other business Tuesday, the council members will receive an update on synthetic turf replacement at Diablo Vista Park, and they will discuss this year's town Community Service Awards program.

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.


10 people like this
Posted by Danville Mom
a resident of Danville
on Sep 8, 2015 at 9:12 am

As a mother of two attending public Danville schools, having a neighbor renting out a room(s) creates a tremendous safety concern. I too have a neighbor who is on Air BnB and they host men and women from around the country and world. Constantly seeing strangers coming and going from the house is unsettling. Many times my neighbor isn't even home so there are never introductions. The number of cars parked is ridiculous and they don't drive safely through the neighborhood.
It has definitely created upheaval in our otherwise close knit neighborhood since most of us are opposed.
Good for Alamatos for taking this to the council!!

10 people like this
Posted by concerned home owner
a resident of Danville
on Sep 8, 2015 at 9:19 am

We are very happy to see this issue being addressed. Personal safety, home values and privacy are all greatly affected by these short term rentals.
The Air B n B homeowner has been very untruthful about her hosting strangers for as little as one night. Is there a tax ramification on this income? Who "screens" these travelers?
Very uncomfortable not knowing who's "living" across the stree . NOT why we moved to Danville. Thank you.

6 people like this
Posted by Seriously?
a resident of Danville
on Sep 8, 2015 at 9:22 am

For all of the reasons already mentioned, and did we say SAFETY OF OUR FAMILIES????

8 people like this
Posted by Tax Payer
a resident of Danville
on Sep 8, 2015 at 9:28 am

Thank you for addressing this!
We never know who's coming and going from our neighbor's house. We used to have a safe a private neighborhood where kids would play house to house. That's changed. Who's that man/woman sitting out front watching our kids play. Always a different person.
There needs to be a law!!!! No (short term) rentals in Danville!!!

4 people like this
Posted by Another Concerned Homeowner
a resident of Danville
on Sep 8, 2015 at 9:29 am


8 people like this
Posted by Former Host
a resident of Danville
on Sep 8, 2015 at 9:38 am

Host Beware!
I had hosted through Air BnB for several months. The screening process is not legitimate. First issue I had was guest's hours. Crazy! Second and final issue with a different guest was primarily overhearing a conversation about a drug deal. They were asked to leave immediately. It was scary. Since I had nothing solid, police could do nothing but told me to call again if another issue.
I'm DONE! I'm sure my neighbors are happier as well. Not worth the risk at all.

8 people like this
Posted by Alamatos Resident
a resident of Danville
on Sep 8, 2015 at 11:00 am

[Portion removed because it is hearsay that cannot be verified.]
To have a homeowner who is planning to create ongoing short term rental seems unlawful and at least it should be.
For reasons already addressed, safety and home values are huge considerations.
This is a close and friendly neighborhood with many children. These homeowners have absolutely no respect for this.
I totally support NOT allowing short term rentals in Danville.

2 people like this
Posted by grandma
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 8, 2015 at 4:52 pm

IRS and FTB do tax rental income. Get together. Chart the number of people you see at the house over a specific time period. If these rentals are advertised to the public, get an idea of what they receive per night and let your tax agency know.

4 people like this
Posted by Noreen
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2015 at 9:18 am

I just had a lovely Air B and B experience in a gated community in Orange County. Private entrance and bath. Use of the kitchen, living room, family room, and pool.

The room was half the price and twice as nice as upscale hotels in the area.

The homeowners must have had a good working relationship with their neighbors. I was introduced to the neighbor in the front yard when I arrived.

4 people like this
Posted by Beth
a resident of Diablo Vista Middle School
on Sep 9, 2015 at 6:51 pm

I used AirBnb for the first time for two weeks this past summer in Athens, Greece. There was no background check on us and there was no verbal conversation prior to arriving with the "hosts", basically a concierge service provided by the homeowners, whom we never met. Although we had a great experience as customers, I could definitely see how one would not want this going on in their neighborhood. For all one knows, it could be a sex offender staying, who normally has to register their residential address, but likely not for an AirBnb or VRBO-type rental service.

If this were going on in my neighborhood (in unincorporated Danville), I would definitely be totally uncomfortable with it. However, the same can be said for a lot of the privately owned condos, especially where we used to live behind Safeway (near Blackhawk Plaza). I would say about 50% of those condos were being rented out by the owners and it was less of a stable environment than in the Danville single-family detached home communities; renters come and go more frequently in condo communities, as many purchase them for investments to rent out.

Honestly, I would freak out if one of our nearby neighbors started using their home for AirBnb or the equivalent! Just my opinion. Please don't attack. Every time I write a comment I get snarky remarks!!!

2 people like this
Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Sep 11, 2015 at 4:29 pm

Much food for thought in the above comments. I'm glad we don't have that going on in out area for the time being.
Now anyone affected will have to hope the council does the right thing. Hmmm.... well, good luck with that.

4 people like this
Posted by Airbnb Supporter
a resident of Danville
on Sep 12, 2015 at 9:11 am

I recently started a job in Danville and have to live there during the week, returning to my home in the Sierras on the weekends. I can in no way pay the long-term rental costs to live there for 4 nights of the week! I have been an airbnb host for 5 years and have hosted hundreds of people from all over the world. It has been an extremely positive experience and many of my neighbors have also become airbnb hosts. Our community does require that we get a Transient Occupancy License and pay the Transient Occupancy Tax on a monthly basis. Airbnb has not only allowed us to live comfortably in an expensive area, but has allowed us to make friends all over the world. I have stayed with the homeowner about whom you are speaking and she is a caring and considerate host.

8 people like this
Posted by Susan
a resident of Danville
on Sep 12, 2015 at 11:40 am

[Removed because it referred to another post that was removed]

Like this comment
Posted by Lovelife
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Sep 16, 2015 at 9:59 pm

Lovelife is a registered user.

I am confused by the "safety" concerns that are expressed by the neighbors of the Danville host. Are these individuals really so provincial as to be suggesting that people from outside Danville are inherently suspect, and to be considered "unsafe"? Are people from elsewhere in the world inherently dangerous? Is it problematic for someone you don't know to be sitting outside in your neighborhood? Are you concerned if strangers see your children? If people really feel this way, short term rentals are not their problem. Not getting out of their neighborhood more to see the world outside a small circle in Danville may be their greater problem.

Neighbors are concerned because the hosts' guests park on the street? Really?

I am an Airbnb host, and I have had many guests at my home, and my neighbors have never complained. My guests are very friendly, lovely people -- if I didn't feel comfortable with them, I wouldn't have had them stay with me. It should be realized by all neighbors that a host is generally more invested in having a safe and respectful, friendly guest, than her neighbors will be, because she lives with them. One wants to get on well with someone one will see in the kitchen, living room, or in one's backyard.

Short term rentals are being permitted, with regulations, in most all cities where this issue arises, around the country. In the Bay Area, in Piedmont, a city comparable to Danville with a high median income level, and a very comfortable neighborly setting, the City Council demonstrated openness to allowing short term rentals. Palo ALto, another similar city, tabled the discussion on short term rentals, allowing them to remain unregulated for the time being, citing a lack of complaints,( or at least, a lack of legitimate complaints.)

Instead of being upset that people from around the world are coming to your neighborhood, or feeling threatened by that fact, how about feeling blessed by these visitors, and choosing to believe that people from outside of Danville just might not be the great danger you imagine them to be.

Like this comment
Posted by Lovelife
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Sep 16, 2015 at 10:10 pm

Lovelife is a registered user.

Another thought...regarding "strangers" in the neighborhood...a stranger is someone to whom you haven't yet said hello. Say hello and introduce yourself to that new person and then that new person won't be a stranger any more.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Did Urban Shield make a difference?
By Tim Hunt | 4 comments | 739 views