Vacation Rentals – New Rules

Sonoma County is filled with over 1,000 vacation rental properties. Guerneville on the Russian River, Healdsburg at the center of three wine valleys, and Sonoma Valley with about fifteen percent of the total are popular spots. Bodega Bay and Sea Ranch are probably the other two biggest clusters of vacation rental activity.
Vacation rentals are an affordable way to vacation with a family or group. They are more affordable than multiple hotel rooms or they offer amenities beyond what a hotel or motel can offer. They almost always have a water feature such as Russian River access or a pool or hot tub, and many offer spectacular views or great locations for accessing wine tasting or restaurants.
Most vacation renters are well behaved neighbors, but a few carousing groups can impact the whole industry. In order to clean up a few problem properties, changes are being proposed for vacation rentals in Sonoma County that will end up reducing the number of available beds by up to one third. Some properties won’t be economically viable as vacation rentals and will have to return to life as normal single family residences. Most will continue as they are, but with smaller maximum guest numbers.
The proposed changes allow for two guests per permitted bedroom and two additional guests per house, but they disallow some granny units to be counted if they were built under affordable housing guidelines. Another change is to eliminate any outdoor amplified music and to create a quiet time between 10 pm and 9 am.
The planning commission is holding a hearing on June 10 to address this issue. The hearing will take place at 1 p.m. in the hearing room of the Permit and Resource Management Department (PRMD), 2550 Ventura Ave. in Santa Rosa.
Proposed Sonoma County Vacation Rental Ordinance (PDF)

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