Council looks at housing

The Avalon City Council directed the Planning and Fire departments to develop an inspection program for residential rental properties The council also discussed a moratorium on issuing conditional use permits for vacation rentals. But instead of voting on the porposal, the council told staff to look at developing a licensing program for vacation rentals instead. The city attorney’s office, in the meantime, will look at whether it would be legal to allow CUPs to expire after a certain number of years.

The Avalon City Council directed the Planning and Fire departments to develop an inspection program for residential rental properties The council also discussed a moratorium on issuing conditional use permits for vacation rentals. But instead of voting on the porposal, the council told staff to look at developing a licensing program for vacation rentals instead. The city attorney’s office, in the meantime, will look at whether it would be legal to allow CUPs to expire after a certain number of years.

In related news, the city is in on-going discussions with the Catalina Island Company to draw up a memorandum of understanding to develop workforce housing. Among the issues to be considered will be whether the housing will be for employees who already live on the Island or for future employees.

The Catalina Islander will follow up on the workforce housing story in next week’s paper.

City officials noted that housing and water are the biggest issues facing Avalon. At Tuesday night’s council meeting, Councilwoman Cinde MacGugan-Cassidy asked for an update from the city’s affordable housing consultant. She said the consultant had not told the council what the city’s options are. Councilman Joe Sampson said the entire community needed to discuss the issue. He also pointed out that the city doesn’t have the water the city needs.  City Manager David Jinkens said the city’s infrastructure had been “woefully neglected.”

Rental inspections issues

The council voted 4-1 to have staff develop a program to inspect residential rentals. Councilman Sampson cast the dissenting vote.

Sampson was concerned that an inspection program would place a burden on property owners and that they would raise rents to offset costs. City staff will be looking at rehabilitation programs to help owners. Jinkens said staff would look at incentives for landlords. Planning Director Amanda Cook said the Los Angeles County Health Department has an inspection program for rental properties with five or more units.

Vacation rentals issue

Cook said the number of conditional use permits to allow vacation rentals (also known as “transient occupancy”) had hovered around 350 for “probably the last 10 years.” Councilwoman Cassidy, a former member of the Planning Commission, put the period at 10 years. Cook said that last year, the city received transient occupancy tax reports from 267 property owners.

Campbell said that if someone with a transient occupancy permit did not rent out a property in a year, the permit was subject to a revocation hearing. Cassidy wanted to go forward on “sunseting” the permits, so that they would expire after a certain period of time. Campbell said the legality of sunsetting wold have  to be research.

In other news

The council also approved on second reading two ordinances regulating marijuana in Avalon. One was the Medical Cannibis Delivery Service ordinance legalizing and regulating medical marijuana delivery. The other ordinance amended the Municipal Code to regulate Personal Cannibis Growth. A recent Catalina Islander online poll asked: “Should the city of Avalon allow, ban or regulate marijuana?”

Legalize all marijuana.—53 percent

Legalize only medical marijuana.—13 percent

Ban marijuana.—34 percent

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