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Letters to the Editor- Code Enforcement?

What makes Oceanside Real is our laid-back feel and incredible beach life. Hence the appeal to investors who have bought up homes on Pacific Street and the Strand to convert into short term vacation rentals. While this has negatively impacted our neighborhood feel it has been a good source of revenue through transit occupancy taxes.

But now these short-term vacation rentals that are literally located next door to the single family homes have become a Coronavirus public health problem.

None of us enjoy sheltering in place. None of us like that our beloved local businesses are closed. We are concerned for those that have lost their jobs. All of that is painful.

But imagine you had a vacation rental home right next to your home. At the very time you are trying to follow the health rules, there are vacationers, from who knows where, partying next door! That is more than painful. It is life threatening!

Renting out to vacationers and for parties is against County law. According to Dr. Wooten, County Health Officer, “The use of AirBnB’s is only lawful if it is being used for essential workers.”

Numerous complaints have been filed against irresponsible owners of short-term vacation rental homes with Oceanside’s city government by our fellow neighbors for violation of our current County’s Coronavirus health laws. Complaints have been filed against parties being held. Complaints have been filed for renting to non-essential workers as neighbors see vacationers walking in and out vacation rental homes in beach attire.

Enforcement should be simple. Last year residents and property investors worked together with the city to write a Good Neighbor Policy.  It outlines short term vacation rental owners’ responsibilities and establishes violations enforcement rules.  The city’s adopted this Good Neighbor Policy and included funds for a code-enforcement officer to handle complaints.

But what is our city’s code-enforcement officer doing to enforce compliance of the Good Neighbor Policy? Nothing! Just this week a complaint was filed with the city that a party with 17 people in attendance was being held at a short-term vacation rental home. The city did nothing! This was not an isolated omission by the city. It is what happens every time a violation complaint is filed.

The city ignoring neighbors and neighborhoods is not new. They have a long history of supporting developers (very often out of town ones) at the expense of neighborhoods. That is why our major intersections are now traffic congestion nightmares. That is why our unique Oceanside Real downtown vibe is being destroyed by high rise construction. And unless this November we vote down the city council’s spot zoning of Oceanside’ farmlands we will have them replaced by high density homes that will increase fire risks.

November is a long ways away. But it is not too late to be thinking about what a lack of enforcement by the city of obvious health law violations means to you and our neighborhoods.  This November we will be voting to elect a new mayor and two new city council members. One criteria to consider in casting your ballot should be whether a candidate stands with neighbors or for the special interests of developers and irresponsible short term vacation rental owners.

Shari Mackin, former Deputy Mayor

Oceanside