Short-term rentals to be considered in RSF regulatory code ammendments


On Aug. 3, the Rancho Santa Fe Association board approved a $30,000 contract with Rick Engineering to work on amending its regulatory code. The code, which includes the organization’s construction, building and operational regulations, has not been updated since 2008. Building Commissioner Tom Farrar said the update will ensure that the code conforms with the RSF Association board and Covenant Design Review Committee’s policies and objectives, as well as work to correct errors, omissions and weaknesses to make the document more fair, consistent and enforceable.

RSF Association President Fred Wasserman said that there are no enforceable actions in the code regarding issues such as owners who have neglected to maintain their properties, which has become a problem throughout Rancho Santa Fe.

There is an item in the code on “visual clutter” which states that “no person shall accumulate junk, trash, landscape debris or other similarly unsightly possessions... when such accumulation would be exposed to view from any streets or from other residences” but it does not state anything about the penalty or action that would be taken if such an event occurred.

At the Aug. 3 board meeting, Wasserman said the Association also plans to take a look at short-term rentals, a “hot topic” that many homeowner associations and cities have considered as home sharing sites rise in popularity.

“We’ve had several questions raised about some activities occurring within the Covenant,” Wasserman said.

Board member Allen Finkelson said that at least 12 Rancho Santa Fe properties have been up for rent through Airbnb for the racetrack season and residents have concerns about noise and traffic.

In June, the Del Mar City Council instructed its staff to work up language prohibiting homeowners from renting out their home in fewer than seven-day increments for a total not-to-exceed 28 days in a calendar year. Homeowners will need to register for a yet-to-be-crafted city permit and provide off-street parking for their guests. City Council hopes to finalize a policy by October.

San Diego City Council attempted a ban on short-term vacation rentals in single-family neighborhoods in 2016 and is still considering regulations for short-term rentals and home sharing. San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott has said that under city zoning rules, short-term vacation rentals are not allowed in residential or commercial areas.

Wasserman said they did not know how restrictive Rancho Santa Fe’s rules would be, but they are open to input on the issue.