The Board of Supervisors has approved a revised ordinance regulating short-term rentals in Riverside County. The board’s vote was 4-1, with Supv. Kevin Jeffries (1st District) opposing.

Supervisors Chuck Washington (3rd District) and John Benoit (4th District) had originally brought the ordinance forward in November. But after two sessions discussing it, Benoit said they would revise it.

At the board’s Jan. 12 meeting, the new version was discussed and passed. It came back for a second review at the Jan. 26 meeting.

Benoit explained to his colleagues that the number of short-term rentals of residential property was growing in the county, especially in his district.

“We want to see that kind of business thrive,” he said, “but we want a level playing field.” Many municipalities in the county already have enacted ordinances regulating these short-term rentals.

As a result of several meetings and discussions since November, Benoit said the revised ordinance eliminates the occupancy levels within the dwellings and the prohibition on on-street parking.

“After talking with a number of folks in the industry and discussion with my colleague, Mr. Washington, we’ve elected to remove those two parts of the ordinance,” he said. “It was never really our original intent to control these. And this satisfies our basic intent.”

Washington acknowledged that it was difficult to craft an ordinance that would apply to all the areas of county where the short-term rental business was popular.

“The various areas of the county that do have vacation rentals are vastly different from one another,” he stated. “It’s not my intent nor Supervisor Benoit’s to over regulate.”

One question Jeffries asked was what additional protections this ordinance offers from Ordinance 924, “Regulating Multiple Responses to Loud and Unruly Parties, Gathers or Other Events,” that he and Benoit advanced in September.

County counsel replied that noise and the issues addressed in the September ordinance would merit a direct call to the sheriff’s office. The short-term rental ordinance requires a posting of a local contact neighbors or renters may call directly if more minor problems, such as trash, occur. The local contact is supposed to respond within an hour.

“You’ve done a really good job with this revision, cleaning it up,” Jeffries told his colleagues. “At some point we need to regulate people who are abusing their neighbors.”