Planning Commission meeting October 11, 2023: Short-term Rental Permit for 1850 Edgecliff Dr.
Commissioner Dino was delayed. Commissioner Tudor, Vice Chair Cox, and Chairman Mansuri were present. Commissioner Gambino has an excused absence.
STAFF PRESENTATION AND RECOMMENDATION
The applicant requests short-term rental approval to allow partial home rental, generally less than 30 days. This property is in the R1 zone, and the process is exempt per section 15301 of the CEQA guidelines. When staff receives an application for short-term rentals, they go through several steps.
1) Staff looks to see if there are any open building permits or any open code enforcement cases.
Findings: There were no open building permits or code enforcement cases for this application in this case.
2) If warranted, staff checks calls for service from the Police Department.
Findings: Based on staff research and calls for service, staff determined 12 calls for service to the Police Department between 2019 and the present. I want to caveat that comment because it’s anytime somebody calls the Police Department to register a complaint, and so that’s logged into the system, whether or not there’s a report filed. Then, general offense reports are done. Two general offense reports were generated. However, those are confidential. The majority didn’t cause any reports.
3) Staff has the ability, through a service that we use called Host Compliance, to look at any activity occurring on the property.
Findings: Host compliance uses a web crawling system to see if any activity regarding a short-term rental includes any time a notice is posted. Anytime it’s taken down, somebody rents out the property. Based on that system, staff determined that seventeen listings were posted and taken down 11 times. Eight documented stays occurred before a short-term rental permit was approved.
4) Staff sends notices to all the property owners within 300 feet of the subject property. They allow those property owners a few weeks (10 days) to provide comments and responses. They can respond in two ways. They can go to the host compliance website and lodge comments or send them directly to the staff, who will upload them into the system.
Findings: Staff did receive comments from individuals. Staff tried to determine where the comments came from. Based on this information, two of the comments were from adjacent neighbors. The other two couldn’t be decided where they came from.
The staff did not make a recommendation. The commissioners had three actions: approve, deny, or approve the application with conditions.
Planning Commissioner Chair Arif Mansuri asked, “Are the comments included in our packet the ones from today.”
Chris Schaffer responded that all the packet comments were from the last meeting. The previous meeting had to be canceled because of technical difficulties, so everything from the last meeting was forwarded to this meeting, and no additional comments were added.
THE APPLICANTS, MR. AND MRS. SMITH
“We live at 1850 Edgecliff Dr. Our property is 5,100 square feet. We will live upstairs with 2,700 square feet, and 2,400 will be downstairs. And that is the portion we want to rent out for AirBnB. We’re committed to being responsible hosts. To ensure that we select the right guests, we have contacted a professional tenant screening company to help ensure that we have suitable guests to stay in our AirBnB.
“Additionally, we have sought guidance from a local realtor, Jackie O. She did emphasize that showing the right rental will boost our property value. This venture will not only enhance our property but also positively impact the property values of our neighborhood.
“Also, we would be honored to partner with the City of Fullerton, bringing in revenue and contributing to our community. We are fully dedicated to following all ordinances and requirements to secure our AirBnB rental permit. This opportunity means a lot to us, and we’re committed to following all city regulations.
“To clarify the listings, when we put in the application, we also listed the rental, and the reason we were denied was that we did the application wrong, which was the reason for the denial the first two times. We applied for a full house rental the first two times by mistake. Christine was the one who was helping us, and we did notify her both times that we listed the house rental. She said it was not a problem as everyone does that.
“I live immediately next door to 1850 Edgecliff Dr. I purchased my home in January 2018 and have lived there for six years. I’m here this evening to voice my vehement and unequivocal opposition to a short-term rental permit.
“In the last year, I have submitted three letters of opposition to each short-term rental permit application. My name was not on your list, and I’ve submitted three.
“In addition to my statements, I’ve included over 25 audio and video files and photos. To substantiate my concerns, I expect each of you to have the opportunity to review the audio and video files and photos as they establish a clear pattern of complete disregard for following rules that would prevent a short-term rental permit. Living next door to 1850 Edgecliff Drive has been miserable for the last few years.
“I have endured constant dog barking all day and night from their German Shepherd. That has never been corrected. Dozens and dozens of incidents of their dog getting loose and terrorizing our neighborhood. Including multiple attacks.
“Fourteen times, not 12, the Fullerton police have been called to their home. Illegal event planning business that hosted outdoor parties with live deejays until 2am, prevented me from sleeping in my own home. An illegal AirBnB business without a short-term rental permit, we’ve experienced AirBnB parties, as you see on the news: excessive noise, safety and security issues, excessive street parking, and overnight parking.
“They’ve also had an illegal car repair business. Most recently, they have been repairing vehicles late at night [with air-pressure power tools]. And tow trucks regularly dropping cars off after midnight, waking us up.
“They have zero neighborhood common courtesy with excessive noise after 10pm, and the worst part, harassment, intimidation, and retaliation that I’ve personally experienced from the homeowners.
“I have many other concerns that a short-term rental permit would pose to our street and neighborhood’s quality of life, privacy, safety, security, noise, traffic, parking, parties, trash, and city violations [not to mention] decrease in home values. Reviewing the letters submitted opposing the short-term rental permit, you will see a pattern of irresponsibility, lack of respect, failure to fix issues, and a complete disregard for rules.
“The first two permits were denied due to neighbor complaints, not because of a misapplication. That’s on the staff report.
“The Planning Commission can’t fix all the issues and concerns we endure today. Still, you can deny a short-term rental permit, which would at least reduce the potential for additional safety and security incidents, increased noise violations, increased traffic, overnight street parking, and excessive trash. Please deny the short-term rental permit.”
MICHAEL AQUINO, A RETIRED ANAHEIM POLICE CAPTAIN
He had many of the same complaints, adding, “If it is predictable, it is preventable. Their actions are predictable, and issues have already affected our peace, safety, and use of our home in an otherwise quiet neighborhood.”
She had many of the same complaints, “I request this permit be denied.” RAMSEY ALLUSION He had many of the same complaints and requested commissioners to deny the permit.
LARRY BENNETT, A FORMER FULLERTON PLANNING COMMISSIONER
“When I read the staff report, I saw the 12 calls for service. I’ve lived on my property for 40 to 42 years. I’ve had two calls for services when I had burglaries over the years. That’s it.
“All my neighbors around us are quiet, peaceful people. If we have a problem with each other, we generally talk to each other and solve the problem. That’s not what we’ve experienced with this particular property. It has been a series of intimidations and threats. You know, a couple of our neighbors are rather elderly. One in particular said they were not coming down here because they did not want to make themselves a target.”
PLANNING COMMISSIONER CHAIR ARIF MANSURI
“We have read all the letters and heard the complaints. We have heard all the issues with the police calls and having the place rented without a permit. We put a lot of value or a lot of weight on the complaints from the community that would be immediately in the surrounding area. But we are also very much concerned about the applicant’s rights.
“My job is not to establish that the applicant is a good or bad neighbor. My job is to establish if a short-term rental permit is warranted. Suppose you have a neighbor that you don’t like. Are they allowed to open up a business in that neighborhood, or something that is permitted or not?”
Commissioner Dino made a motion for conditional approval, seconded by Commissioner Tudor. The motion passed unanimously.
Unless an appeal is made in writing, the planning, commission approval, or denial of any action on this agenda should be final and effective ten working days after its decision. Anyone interested in appealing should contact the Community and Economic Development Department for assistance.