Danville commission to discuss ban on short-term rentals

Proposed ordinance would prohibit residential rentals of less than 30 days

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.

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8 people like this
Posted by Adam Smith
a resident of Danville
on Nov 24, 2015 at 7:15 am

Some poor free-marketeer's head is bound to explode over these gubmint jack-boots trampling private property rights with commerce-killing regulations. Especially with the Booper Soul about to visit these parts. There's money to be made!

Somebody might even move to Texas, or at least threaten to move. .

10 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 24, 2015 at 7:54 am

With 15 properties listed for short term rental the good people of Danville are about to strip ALL property owners of their rights.

8 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 24, 2015 at 8:04 am

My second home has been listed on VRBO for 8 years and rented for a good portion of that time. It has been a rewarding experience and I've met interesting people from all parts of the country. No damage to my home, guest always paid as agreed, although there is a claim of a loud party once.

15 people like this
Posted by Mari
a resident of Danville
on Nov 24, 2015 at 9:00 am

Banning these rentals outright is a ridiculous reaction . I agree it is trampling on property rights. That being said I understand if you are the house nextdoor to a loud crowd there is an issue.I think a ban is an enforcement waste of time....and turns neighbor against neighbor and will waste police time. More reasonable constraints...e.g. registering the property for a flat annual fee, limiting the number of annual rentals per year, limiting the number of cars, enforcing quiet hours, etc. Eventual violations could result on revocation of the privilege to rent and huge fines.Rental owners would need to document their compliance and make it available for public review. Bottomline, rental owners need to be respectful of the neighbors and responsible for those using their property but a ban outright is ridiculous and robs the community of the opportunity to meet very lovely people. I use AirBnb when out of town. WHY? Because I like having the opportunity to integrate with the local community...unless thats the true reason people want a ban....eliminating out of town visitors from "such" an exclusive community. Get with it Danville..get with the times!

Honestly...a ban is just a typical Danville NIMBY reaction that re-enforces the

1 person likes this
Posted by Say What
a resident of Danville
on Nov 24, 2015 at 9:30 am

RE ADAM....huh????

8 people like this
Posted by JL
a resident of Alamo
on Nov 24, 2015 at 9:41 am

The Town of Danville is wasting its staff time looking at an intrusion of property rights. This is a type of regulations that is impossible to enforce, thankfully. How about fixing pot holes instead?

7 people like this
Posted by Danville Mom
a resident of Monte Vista High School
on Nov 24, 2015 at 9:52 am

Short term rentals create a negative impact on home values, threatens safety of neighbors children and creates distrust.
They may be good in someone else's neighborhood but how would you like a revolving door of strangers across the street from you million dollar plus home? Why don't you all think before you spew and instead, take it to a personal level?

11 people like this
Posted by Jan
a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Nov 24, 2015 at 10:22 am

Having young children, I can't imagine what it would be like to have a neighbor renting to anyone from anywhere as a short term rental. The "vetting" process of Air BnB is a joke.
It might be great for YOU to go somewhere else and stay in a stranger's home, but I sure don't want that situation in MY neighborhood. Danville Mom, points well taken! No thank you to short term rentals! Keep our neighborhoods safe. Support the local hotel economy if you wish to visit our bedroom community.

9 people like this
Posted by Mark
a resident of Danville
on Nov 24, 2015 at 10:28 am

Hey Joe, good for you for renting out your SECOND HOME as a short term rental. How do your neighbors like that???

Do you even KNOW your neighbors of your "second home"?

Your claim is selfish on so many levels . You're making money so of course you don't car . What do your neighbors think? Oh, wait, do they know who you are?

11 people like this
Posted by Mari
a resident of Danville
on Nov 24, 2015 at 10:57 am

Danville Moms response simply demonstrates what I said...this is Danville exclusivity NIMBY-ism at its finest. I actually live at a second home in the mountains for part of the year...I have seen the negative side of short term rentals. However I have also seen the positive side. That is why I truly believe reasonable regulation is fair to everyone. Outright ban is NOT fair. Are you saying that only those with million dollar houses can make the rules? Please...I guess those of us peons who cant afford million dollar homes are being dismissed. Reasonable regulation makes sense...a ban shows pure ignorance. Oh and by the way....I find that its the million dollar owners with second home long term rentals in MY neighborhood who cause the most problems like too many cars, people crammed into houses, deferred maintenance, etc. I suggest if you ban short term rentals that we also ban long term rentals. But I would be willing to bet there would be an outcry about property rights from those owners if that was considered!

5 people like this
Posted by Sally
a resident of Monte Vista High School
on Nov 24, 2015 at 11:07 am

I feel very fortunate that I don't have a neighbor participating in "short term rentals". We live in a close community and we've been having "curb side chats" regarding this issue. The consensus is that we are all very grateful to not have to be dealing with this.

We collectively vote against short-term rentals in Danville. Keep our neighborhoods and children safe (not to mention home values). Thank you.

6 people like this
Posted by Danville Mom
a resident of Monte Vista High School
on Nov 24, 2015 at 11:16 am

Mari, you have basically proven my point. Short term rentals are a problem.

You seem stuck on the "million dollar home" aspect. If you live in Danville and own a home, your home is most likely hovering close to the million dollar mark. Not hard to find humble 3/2 homes valued at such a price. It is what it is.

I'd like to know what your Danville neighbors think of your short term rental?
(If indeed they are short term)
The point here is not disputing long term rentals.

Your owning a second home in the mountains puts you in the same bracket of those having just one million dollar home in Danville.

10 people like this
Posted by FanDanville
a resident of Danville
on Nov 24, 2015 at 11:23 am

You can already tell that the COUNCIL is working towards a BAN. It's a done deal. It's just going through the process.

They don't care about an Owner's property rights or freedom of choice. Someone on the inside is pushing this.

One ST rental problem = enact a BAN to stop all possibility of rentals.
It doesn't matter how many nice, safe, good ST rentals there have been over the years, it all has to stop now because of one noise complaint or one Mommy complaint about the possibility of danger from an unknown stranger. (Like a new owner wouldn't be an unknown stranger. Like she knows everyone on the block or next block over.)

If there is a noise issue, why not enforce a noise rule.
If there is a stranger, just stay in your own yard. .........there will always be strangers. If they do anything wrong, then they'll be caught and prosecuted just like a non-stranger. Is there some evidence that these ST rental persons are an unusually high percentage of criminals?? (No, but the Council will make laws based on rampant assumptions.)

9 people like this
Posted by Adam Smith
a resident of Danville
on Nov 24, 2015 at 11:36 am

I support the right of every idiot in this great land to vote. That's our way. But it's also our way to set up governing bodies to actually gain expertise, investigate, understand the situation, review actual evidence and be guided thereby in making wise decisions. They are what separates us from mob rule.

There has been a bunch of naked, timid, unsupported claimage made already in this thread, but not one shred of actual evidence that there's Anything to fear from AirBnB -- to either persons (large or small) or property. Even those who call for reasonable regulation fail to take into account that there are already rules against things like loud, obnoxious parties, 99% of which are celebrated by my permanent neighbors. You know who you are.

I certainly hope the Planning Commission has the wit, and the backbone, to separate fact from fiction and recognize a non-issue when it sees one. Look at City Attorney Rob Ewing's very tepid review -- " 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."

Nothing to see here, folks.

5 people like this
Posted by Greg
a resident of Alamo
on Nov 24, 2015 at 12:44 pm

Government officials without fail cannot pass up a chance to regulate something, anything if possible. However it will be fairly shortsighted of Danville to try and enact this ban. Ultimately Danville will likely lose in the court of public opinion.

The sharing economy is real and it is here to stay, trying to ban it is ridiculous.


11 people like this
Posted by Mari
a resident of Danville
on Nov 24, 2015 at 12:58 pm

Last comment..short term rentals are as much a
problem as long term rentals and owners in primary homes themselves. And by the way no my home isnt even close to the level of value described earlier. And i have no short term rental myself.....anywhere. I just have more respect for my neighbors rights and think there is a middle gground that meets everyones needs...not just the million dollar homeowners. This is a non problem in Danville and there are already enough rules.

2 people like this
Posted by Mel
a resident of Danville
on Nov 25, 2015 at 7:36 am

I understand the draw; however, Danville is not a vacation destination. This is a small quaint community where the majority purchased our home to raise our kids free and clear of questionable cars and guests traveling on our street at various hours of the day or night.

Danville crime has increased and neighbors are being encouraged to take note, call police and report suspicious vehicles. You want to see your taxes spike? Then support the BAN on short-term rentals, because every single time I see someone drive up my street that is not a familiar car, you bet I'm calling them.

As the community voiced last night, our world can't protect us from suicide bombers or breaches in credit card hacks, but we are putting our faith in AirBNB to "screen" whomever wants to rent a room from me? Please!

To the woman who spoke last night in favor of AirBNB in our community and felt very safe because her renters had to provide (electronic?) copies of their identities... a social media account... And then they would sleep two doors away from you in your house? I practically fell out of my chair! You seemed like a very charming and sweet woman, and I'm sure you are. I pray your fate is never determined at the hands of one of these strangers... STRANGERS, that is who you are allowing in your home!

Another scenario I hope everyone will consider. Your child, grandchild, friend is playing in the yard, riding a bike, walking home from school and along comes a stranger/car looking for their short term rental... Looks like a nice enough person, but they have a history with violence or they are registered as a sex offender (not sure they highlighted those "attributes" in their application or on their social media page AirBNB requires them to have). Lucky for them that you cannot discriminate against renting your place to them. They have rights too, darn it!

Danville, if you let these SHORT-TERM rentals in, you will have the blood on your hands and money tied up in lawsuits WHEN they start turning ugly. Please set a precedent now by protecting our community from short term rentals!

2 people like this
Posted by Louise
a resident of Danville
on Nov 25, 2015 at 10:55 am

The owners who rent short term do not run credit reports or do any kind of checking on employment. All they care about is that the renters have the money and pay a deposit. If you have a short term rental next door to you, trust me, you wouldn't like it especially if it is a constant turning over of occupants. The people who rent short term are looking for a place to hang out and not to live permanently. They have a different mindset then a long term renter. Renters, in and of themselves, have no skin in the game and aren't committed to keeping the neighborhood up. They are gone in a year or less anyway. Now, not all renters have that mindset, but many do.
There was a short term rental across the street and the entire family of six and the older parents moved in. They were ok but they were noisy and had four cars that were parked outside all the time. They left junk outside and never moved their garbage cans. All residents were glad when they moved!

Like this comment
Posted by FanDanville
a resident of Danville
on Nov 25, 2015 at 11:23 am

All of your stated "reasons" against ST renters could be applied against LT renters to virtually the same degree.
You all are really against RENTERS in general.
(Your idea that you are "safer" with LT renters is either non-existent or insignificantly slight.)

These "reasons" could be applied against neighboring Owners as well.
Essentially, you don't want anyone around that could harm you. Nobody does.
But the reality of it is that you live in a dangerous world. The only way you can really get what you want is TO AFORD IT--buy 100 acres and build a house in the middle of it, fence it off, have guards and guard dogs, and be careful when you leave.
You want THAT same level of safety, but without paying the real price for it.

2 people like this
Posted by howard johnson
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 25, 2015 at 2:07 pm

We have enjoyed using ABnB, each time when the owners were home -- interesting folks, friendly and hospitable. It's my impression that most of those rentals are few-night gigs, with owner present. It would be a real shame to foreclose fellow Danvillians from those opportunities to host interesting travelers.

I believe that ignorance, fear and gossip, not facts, are driving this opposition and silly, way over-the-top drama. "Blood on your hands" (gasp!) -- really? Settle down, please. I mean, it's not like they're hosting Syrian refugees (gasp!).

Like this comment
Posted by Susan
a resident of Danville
on Nov 25, 2015 at 4:24 pm

I was told the eyesore on the corner of Camino Ramon and San Thomas Way is a rental ? Can anyone confirm.

I think 20 people live there and the yard, I wont go there. Basically the house is a shack with a faux well in the front yard. Bizarre.

Like this comment
Posted by Dan Davis
a resident of another community
on Nov 27, 2015 at 9:35 am

We have a VRBO rental in our neighborhood and after a while the housekeepers quit cleaning the place due to excessive trash left over from all the parties.

Like this comment
Posted by Colonel Mustard
a resident of Diablo
on Nov 27, 2015 at 10:46 am

Back then, the right wing wanted to use nukes on the native population. Remember the Westmoreland Line?

That was a whole different breed of conservatives, too. They were thinkers -- these guys are just chicken-hawkish demagogues.

Like this comment
Posted by Susan
a resident of Danville
on Nov 27, 2015 at 11:10 am

Do you have any thoughts of your own? Or just want to regurgitate random internet meme.

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

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