Santa Ana Council Responds to Complaints about West Floral Park Vacation Home


In response to neighbors upset about renting an entire home in West Floral Park with a high turnover rate, Santa Ana City Council members on Tuesday signaled their willingness to change city codes to crack down on the practice.

“We certainly don’t want houses to function like hotels in a residential area,” said city councilor Michele Martinez, who brought the discussion to council.

The council wants to make sure that there is something in the city’s municipal code “that assures us that people cannot rent their homes like hotels and that people come there every day.” [who] disrupt ”the neighborhood.

Under his leadership, planning staff plan to reinstate a short-term moratorium on commercial uses in residential R1 areas at the September 15 council meeting. Staff should also investigate any loopholes in the municipal code that council could address.

The issue was raised by disgruntled residents of the West Floral Park house, which has been rented as a short-term vacation home for visiting tourists. Some of the guests were having pool parties late at night and staying awake until 2 a.m., neighbors told the Orange County Register.

Several neighbors came to Tuesday’s meeting to urge the council to take action.

One of them, Diego Matzkin, said that in the past two months alone, neighbors have counted around eight different groups, 40 different cars and around 100 different people at the house.

Lorenzo Knapp, who lives across the street from the house, said short-term rentals “interrupt our whole way of life” with nighttime activities preventing him from sleeping.

His family live in a quiet residential area, he said, and “suddenly we have a business enterprise across the street.” Knapp urged the council to “weigh in” on the owner.

City officials issued two citations against the landlord, which were heard by an administrative hearing officer last Thursday. A decision is expected by next Sunday, and the owner can appeal.

The city code currently prohibits hotels in residential areas, with hotels defined as having more than five rooms.

In this case, the house was listed as having six rooms. But after Planning Commission Bruce Bauer – who lives down the street – told the owner she was running an illegal hotel, they narrowed the list down to judge five rooms.

It has become increasingly popular for people to rent individual rooms in their homes, through websites like Airbnb.com. Some board members made it clear on Tuesday that they did not plan to crack down on such single room rentals.

“We all support Airbnb,” Martinez said, a sentiment that was echoed by Mayor Miguel Pulido.

But city councilor Vincent Sarmiento saw it differently.

“I’m even concerned about the Airbnb model,” he said. The city should know what to do because “these companies are coming,” he added.

You can contact Nick Gerda at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter: @nicolasgerda.

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