The town of Danville is set to weigh prohibiting short-term residential rentals such as those offered through Airbnb, with the Planning Commission due to review a proposed ban ordinance and make a recommendation to the Town Council on Tuesday night.
The council directed town staff in September to draft a local law to prohibit short-term rentals in the wake of a study session on the topic and after hearing concerns from Alamatos neighborhood residents, who complained about a neighbor renting a room through Airbnb.
A week after the study session, council members heard from three people -- two town residents who rent rooms in their homes through Airbnb and a woman who uses Airbnb when commuting to Danville -- who spoke in favor of short-term rentals during that week's regular council meeting.
Town officials have completed work on the draft ordinance, as the council requested, and are ready to begin public review of the document, according to city attorney Rob Ewing.
The town currently has no rules specifically addressing such rentals -- generally defined as rentals of less than 30 days. The proposed ordinance would ban them in all residential districts.
Based on online research in August and October, Ewing said there are 15 to 20 properties offering short-term rentals in Danville between the websites Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO.
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.
Jurisdictions opting to prohibit short-term rentals 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.
The Planning Commission is set to conduct a public hearing on the ban ordinance, provide feedback to town officials and make a formal recommendation to the Town Council about the new law.
The commission meeting is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday inside the Town Meeting Hall, 201 Front St.
In other business
* The commissioners will again discuss a proposal to separate an existing 1.51-acre parcel at 841 Podva Road into four single-family residential lots ranging in size from 12,360 to 13,850 square feet.
The property has been vacant and abandoned for years, with a deteriorating home and detached garage plus a wealth of overgrown weeds, according to town principal planner David Crompton.
In addition to requesting approval of a minor subdivision and development plan, the developers have asked for variances because the four proposed lots would be below the required minimum of 15,000 square feet and three of the lots would be below the required lot depth. Crompton noted that a number of existing lots in the area have similar nonconforming sizes and dimensions.
The applicants also seek permission to remove four trees protected under town ordinance -- 12- and 15-inch coast live oaks, and 40- and 48-inch date palm trees.
* The commission will consider a request to allow a new 4,120-square-foot home with 874-square-foot detached garage to be built on a five-acre property at 51 Hidden Hills Place, off Lawrence Road.
The applicants request an exception from the town's scenic hillside and major ridgeline ordinance to allow the home to be constructed within 100 vertical feet of the top of the ridgeline.