The planning commission was concerned with creating an unfair advantage for properties that are within the city of Mount Shasta as opposed to outside the city but still within the city’s sphere of influence, said Siskiyou County Community Development Director Christy Cummings Dawson during the board of supervisors’ June 4 meeting.
After hearing complaints from numerous Mount Shasta residents that un-permitted vacation rentals had ruined the peace in their neighborhood, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on April 2 to codify a resolution stating that no new vacation rentals would be allowed on a property less than 2.5 acres within the City of Mount Shasta’s sphere of influence. However, at its May 15 meeting, the Siskiyou County Planning Commission voted five to zero not to approve that zoning amendment.
The planning commission was concerned with creating an unfair advantage for properties that are within the city of Mount Shasta as opposed to outside the city but still within the city’s sphere of influence, said Siskiyou County Community Development Director Christy Cummings Dawson during the board of supervisors’ June 4 meeting. She noted that the sphere of influence is large, extending from north of Black Butte to Cantara Loop Road.
The commissioners also felt that disallowing vacation rentals on properties less than 2.5 acres would lead to less Transient Occupancy Tax revenue for the county, Dawson said.
Additionally, the planning commissioners expressed an interest in a fair and equitable distribution of rules across the county.
Dawson told the supervisors that there were several options on the table for how to move forward. One option was that the supervisors could codify the ordinance themselves. That would mean the ordinance would need to be brought back at a future meeting during a public hearing. Another option was to rescind the existing resolution and choose not to codify it.
Assistant County Counsel Natalie Reed explained to the board that in the planning commission’s discussion of fair and consistent rules throughout the county, the commissioners were seeking a rational basis for distinguishing between the properties within the city of Mount Shasta’s sphere of influence and all other properties in the county. Reed suggested that the board should consider what public benefit would occur from imposing more restrictions on properties within the sphere of influence than on others.
District 3 Supervisor Michael Kobseff stated that he was in favor of codifying the resolution and explained that it’s the proximity of the properties within the sphere of influence that “creates a nuissance.” District 2 Supervisor Ed Valenzuela also noted his support for codifying the resolution.
District 4 Supervisor Lisa Nixon was the first to voice her opposition to codifying. She conveyed that while she did not discount the concerns of the unhappy Mount Shasta residents who spoke against certain vacation rentals in April, “it’s not the fact that those businesses exist within the sphere of influence, it’s that they’re being abused.” She noted, “There’s got to be a better way than to just disallow these businesses in one area of our county.”
Dawson described some potential changes that could be made to the ordinance, including requiring that vacation rental owners put their use permit numbers on all advertising and publications. That would allow potential renters to scan through properties more quickly and easily determine that if a number wasn’t present, the owner is either violating their use permit or doesn’t have one.
Additionally, Dawson detailed, other jurisdictions have a provision stating that after a certain numbers of verified complaints against a vacation rental, that permit is automatically brought up for review by the planning commission. County Counsel Edward Kiernan proposed an alternative of limiting the number of use permits issued in the area.
Ultimately, multiple supervisors directed county staff to bring the zoning text amendment back for consideration. The first public hearing for the amendment will be held July 2 in the board of supervisors’ chambers.