Santa Barbara City Wins Vacation Rental Enforcement Lawsuit
Source: Santa Barbara City Attorney Office
Today City Attorney Ariel Calonne announced the City’s victory in Santa Barbara Inland & Coastal Property Rights Association vs. City of Santa Barbara. Superior Court Judge Thomas Anderle ruled that the City’s existing short term vacation rental ordinances are valid and enforceable throughout the City. The case, which was funded by James Fenknerand brought by local attorney Joe Liebman, provided the opportunity for City lawyers to reveal evidence that California Coastal Commission staff improperly interfered in Santa Barbara’s inland zoning decisions at the behest of vacation rental business interests.
With respect to testimony offered by the Deputy Director of the Coastal Commission in support of vacation rental business interests, Judge Anderle found: “ . . . he does not “represent” the Coastal Commission in this litigation; if they had thought it was important, the Coastal Commission could have intervened in this litigation and this Court would then have an official position of that distinguished organization.”
City Attorney Ariel Calonne said, “We are pleased to have a local ruling that upholds the City’s power to enforce the law against illegal vacation rentals, especially now when permanent housing is in such short supply.”
Attorney Liebman declined to appeal, likely to avoid creating favorable precedent for the City. Instead he chose to pay the City $5,991.92 in court costs.
The case was handled by Robin Lewis and Tom Shapiro of the City Attorney’s Office.
The City Attorney’s Office will continue active enforcement of the City’s vacation rental laws.