On Monday, January 11, 2021, City Council unanimously adopted an Urgency Ordinance pertaining to Vacation Rental Operations and Enforcement within the City of Big Bear Lake City limits. This Urgency Ordinance was adopted to more effectively prevent and resolve behavioral concerns associated with vacation rentals during the City's peak visitation season, which has now been exacerbated by an increase in visitation associated with COVID-19.

Please note, this is only an URGENCY Ordinance. City Council and staff will continue their comprehensive review of the Vacation Rental Program and will be discussing it more at length in upcoming City Council meetings, however, we are hopeful that these new provisions will carry-over into the new Vacation Rental Ordinance that will be presented to Council in the new future.

 Urgency Ordinance  January 11, 2021, Staff Report - L. Vaupel  City Manager Notes

 COVID-19 Restrictions/Guidelines

Implementation of Urgency Ordinance:

New registrations and renewals applied for and paid for prior to 1/12 will be under the previous ordinance for calculation of occupancy, parking, bedrooms, ownership, etc.

New registrations and renewals applied for on or after 1/12 will be under the new regulations.

Properties eligible for a license will remain the same as currently allowed.

All license holders must comply with the following provisions by 1/15:

        • Spas/jacuzzis are not allowed to operate between the hours of 10 p.m - 7 a.m. No Exceptions.
        • A sign notifying guests that they cannot use the spa/jacuzzi between the hours noted above must be made visible to guests.
        • Amplified noise restriction
        • All cars are to be parked on the property 24/7. Street Parking is prohibited.
        • All check-ins must continue to be done in person.
        • Daytime occupancy is not to exceed the maximum occupancy
        • Posting requirements in unit
        • Agent or owner must be within a 30-minute drive from the property. In other words, he/she must reside in the Big Bear Valley.

Enforcement/Regulation Timeline

    • Beginning 1/30/21 - renewal inspections will use new owner & bedroom definitions, occupancy calculation, and parking requirements
    • Beginning 3/1/21 - you are required to include the City issued license/permit number (received after you pass your inspection) on all property advertisements. A $2,500 fine will be issued to any property owner that is advertising their vacation rental without the required permit/license number.
    • Beginning 3/1/21 - If you are operating your vacation rental without a City-issued permit, you will receive a $5,000 fine and can be potentially banned from the program.
    • Beginning 4/1/21 - owners/agents will need to be certified with the City. (Please note, this certification program is to be launched post-COVID and may be implemented at a later time due to COVID-19 restrictions)


1.  What is the reasoning behind this urgency ordinance?

The intent of the ordinance is to set forth clear and concise regulations on the temporary rental of homes in Big Bear Lake. Essentially, we want a vacation rental program that allows for the occasional rental of homes when homeowners are not able to use their property, so long as guests be respectful to their neighbors and our community. We want to avoid a situation that allows investor-owners and corporations to turn single-family residences into rooming houses, dormitories, hostels, and party houses by installing multiple bunk beds and sleeper sofas to maximize occupancy and pave their entire yard to become a parking lot. A vacation rental should look, feel, and sound just like a typical residence in a quiet residential neighborhood. A person driving through our neighborhoods should not be able to distinguish between a property that is in our vacation rental program from one where an owner lives full-time. Finally, the ordinance attempts to level the playing field for vacation rental owners by providing severe consequences for non-compliance. It provides staff the ability to enforce the rules without relying upon neighbors to report issues and agents to resolve them. The new regulations create a system in which the best (and least costly) way for owners to operate is by choosing only the best guests, monitoring properties proactively, and removing problem guests immediately.

2.  What number do I use for my “license number” to post in my online listing?'

We will be launching a new online licensing program in February. That system will generate a license number for each unit. This is the number that will need to be in all listings and ads. This helps us quickly identify those properties that are not legal. Until you renew and receive the license number, you can use the application number on your inspection form, business license number, or TOT account number.

3.  My property is owned by a corporation will I be able to register or renew?

The new regulations restrict which types of owners can hold a vacation rental license. S-corporations and C-corporations cannot hold a license. Family trusts and LLCs comprised fully of natural persons may hold a license. Any new applications from corporations will be denied. Renewals from existing corporations will be granted, but the ownership issue must be resolved before their 2022 renewal application.

4.  How does the new definition of bedroom affect my maximum occupancy?

The new ordinance uses the Building Code’s definition for bedroom. We will rely upon the County Assessor’s Record to determine the amount of living space and number of bedrooms. Lofts, dens, living rooms, offices, etc. are not classified as bedrooms in these records because they were not constructed to meet the requirements for a bedroom. The number of bedrooms determines the maximum number of adults (2 per bedroom). However, the minimum area of living space per person is 200sf/person. Example: a 1000sf, 2-bedroom cabin would have a maximum occupancy of 4 adults and 1 child, for a total of 5. Guests could have a combination of 2 adults and 3 children, but they could not have 5 adults.

5.  How has the parking requirement changed?

The Development Code establishes a parking minimum for vacation rentals, just like other land use categories. The requirement is 1 parking space per bedroom. A parking space is defined as inside a garage or on a driveway. Parking is not permitted on the street, in the yard, or on unpaved surfaces. There is no prescribed maximum number of cars, but you are limited to those that can fit on legal parking spaces. All parking associated with the vacation rental must be on the property 24/7. This includes the vehicles of daytime guests (post-COVID) and boat trailers. Again – NO PARKING on the street 24/7. If the minimum off-street parking requirement cannot be met, occupancy will be reduced accordingly.

6.  How do owners become “certified” by the City?

We will utilize the same system that we currently use for agents. Beginning 4/1/21, as part of the application and renewal process, owners will be required to submit the printed certificate provided after passing the online tests. This seems to make the most sense, rather than creating a new certification system now and then potentially needing to change it a couple of months from now when the permanent ordinance is approved. Owners need to pass both tests. The videos and tests can be found on our webpage Code Compliance (citybigbearlake.com)

7.  Is in-person registration required?

Yes – even during COVID. Please perform these with proper safety protocols in place. Take these opportunities to verbally explain the serious and costly consequences that will result from non-compliance.

8.  What other changes can we expect in the coming months?

The concern hotline is now being answered by City Staff. We are also responding personally to every concern to validate and resolve. We will be launching a new online and mobile app citizen reporting system in early February. We will also be launching a new online vacation rental application process and an online TOT payment system later in February. By the end of March, we will have an online application process for Business Licenses. We also want to host regular meetings with agents and owners to discuss current issues and brainstorm solutions. Regular emails will also continue to keep you informed of the latest developments.

For any additional questions, comments and/or concerns, please email Larry Vaupel, Director of Tourism Management at


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City of Big Bear Lake Latest Updates

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With the goal of making a COVID-19 vaccine available to all persons who choose to receive it, health care officials have developed a phased-approach to first make the vaccine available to high-risk health care workers, skilled nursing, and long-term care facilities, and first responders. Vaccinations began on December 16, 2020, in San Bernardino County and are continuing. Following is the overall approach to distributing the vaccinations in our County.

phases of vaccine

The County is currently administering vaccines for those in PHASE 1A. Click HERE to see details on each phase.

  • VACCINE LOCATIONS & REGISTRATION - Registrations and appointments are currently available ONLY for front-line health care workers under Phase 1A, Tier 1-3 who work within San Bernardino County and for seniors who are 65  years of age and older. Do NOT attempt to register if you do not meet these qualifications. Make an appointment here: sbcovid19.com/vaccine

Sign-up HERE for the County's Vaccine Notification emails.


Business Resources
Protecting Yourself & Others

Coronavirus is a respiratory virus and is generally spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms of novel coronavirus include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The City of Big Bear Lake encourages you to follow best practices to keep yourself and others healthy. 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Click here to learn more!


COVID-19 Scams & How to Protect Yourself


Recommendations for Residents

If you are a resident of Big Bear Lake, the City encourages you to remain vigilant, and adhere to the following recommendations:

  • the most vulnerable members of our community should continue to take special precautions, and limit interactions with others to the maximum extent practical.
  • all individuals should carry face coverings on their person, for use during all interactions with others
  • all individuals should maintain at least 6 feet of separation from others whenever possible,
  • all individuals should wash your hands frequently, and/or use hand sanitizer whenever it's not possible to wash your hands,
  • all individuals should avoid touching your face,
  • all individuals should cover your cough or sneeze,
  • if you do travel off the mountaintop, or out of the area, be especially vigilant so you don't contract the virus and return to Big Bear Lake, and importantly, consider the needs of our local business owners and their employees (your neighbors!), and understand the need for our community to get back to work so that we can remain a vibrant,attractive, and cohesive community!
Recommendations for Visitors

The City, our businesses, and our residents have all worked hard for the past several months to keep our community safe, and we're pleased to be one of the safest places anywhere.

We truly want others to enjoy this special place, and we welcome our visitors' significant contributions to our community. We do, however, need ALL visitors to respect our community, act responsibly, and be especially mindful of our COVID-19 concerns. The City asks ALL visitors to adhere to the following:

  • if you are not feeling well, please stay away!
  • enjoy Big Bear Lake with your immediate family or immediate household, and please don't organize large gatherings or parties in Big Bear Lake (note: vacation rentals are permitted, but are limited to members of the same immediate household),
  • whenever possible, please patronize our local restaurants who are eager to serve you, and also bring supplies from your home community,
  • respect our permanent residents, and act responsibly in and around our community - the same way you'd want visitors to behave in your community,
  • consider the fact that you may unknowingly be carrying COVID-19 from your home community, and take appropriate precautions to help keep our community safe so we may continue to welcome visitors in the future,
  • carry face coverings at all times, and use them during all interactions with others,
  • always maintain at least 6 feet of separation from others whenever possible, and
  • wash your hands frequently, and/or use hand sanitizer whenever it's not possible to wash your hands
Recommendations for Big Bear Lake Businesses/ Governor’s Resilience Roadmap


Under the Governor's Blueprint for a Safer Economy, many businesses in Big Bear Lake are restricted to operate under certain restrictions and limitations.

In order to eliminate confusion for Business owners, the City advises all City businesses to adhere to business-specific guidance included in the Governor's Blueprint for a Safer Economy when opening.

City staff encourages all of the businesses that are not allowed to conduct business inside to be creative in developing ways to serve customers outdoors, and the City expects to be flexible with our local businesses operating outdoors, provided the activities do not cause an immediate safety concern.

It is critical that ALL Big Bear Lake businesses operate safely and responsibly in order to keep our community SAFE and keep our community OPEN. City and County officials are now making more targeted educational visits to businesses, and the State is deploying a new Strike Force to take enforcement action against any businesses that do not come into compliance. Additionally, the County has established an online complaint form, and this form can be accessed here.

Specific questions or complaints regarding business-specific guidance should be directed to the Governor’s office and/or the California Department of Public Health.

If your business is permitted to operate in the Big Bear Valley, the City encourages ALL businesses to diligently implement the following:

  • require all customers to wear face coverings in order to enter your establishment,
  • require all employees to wear face coverings and other appropriate PPE,
  • consistently maintain at least 6 feet of separation between all customers and employees, and make sure staff is available to educate customers about the need for proper separation, 
  • provide hand sanitizer stations and/or handwashing stations at the entrance, and promote good hygiene, and
  • thoughtfully consider your neighbors, the residents of our community, who may have valid and continuing fears of COVID-19, and try to understand this issue from their perspective.

Please post the flyer(s) below in multiple visible locations to provide a constant reminder!

Governors Roadmap ImageBearMask



San Bernardino County public health officials have prepared a helpful document to assist businesses if an employee tests positive for COVID-19, and this document can viewed HERE.

In short, any employee with COVID-19 symptoms (or symptoms of any illness) should stay home from work and away from everyone, and businesses should emphasize this message to all employees.

If a business has an employee that tests positive for COVID-19, the employee should stay home from work and away from everyone. Upon learning of the positive case, the business is required to thoroughly disinfect all areas where the employee was working, but is not required to close down for any defined period of time.

The COVID-19 positive employee should remain away from work, and the business should take appropriate steps to notify other employees, should keep any other employees that may have been in close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) with the COVID-19 positive employee within 2 days prior to the first symptoms away from work also, and should make sure all employees are closely monitoring for symptoms.

Most importantly, the business should implement proper distancing among patrons and employees, require face coverings, and promote good hygiene.

Recommendations/Guidance for Vacational Rentals

While the Governor's order prohibits the use of traditional lodging facilities and vacation rentals unless they are housing an essential worker or COVID-19 patient, The City is continuing to focus its enforcement efforts on vacation rental units that are occupied by multiple households and/or are engaged in unsafe, irresponsible, and disrespectful behavior. 
The City will not take punitive enforcement action against vacation rentals that abide by the following requirements: 
    • limit occupancy to members of the same household, 
    • verify compliance with the same household requirement during an in-person check-in process, 
    •  perform cleanings in compliance with recommended COVID-19 cleaning practices, 
    • do not exceed 2 vehicles at the unit, 
    • do not host parties or gatherings, and do not generate excessive noise, 
    • implement contracts that will ensure compliance with these requirements, require the use of face coverings and appropriate physical distancing while out and about in our community, and acknowledge the potential for eviction if these requirements are violated, and 
    • remit all transient occupancy taxes due in a timely manner.
The City will, however, take aggressive enforcement action against vacation rental guests and vacation rental owners/managers that do not adhere to these requirements. Vacation rental guests that violate these requirements WILL BE EVICTED, as the City will not tolerate the mixing of households in our vacation rentals. Additionally, owners/managers of vacation rental units that do not effectively screen and monitor guests and ensure that they comply with these requirements WILL BE CITED AND FINED - ranging from $250 to $1,000. This penalty is in addition to the eviction of the vacation rental guests.
The City has deliberately implemented a very reasonable enforcement approach with regard to vacation rentals at this time and absolutely expects COOPERATION from all vacation rental guests, owners, and managers. Thank you for your diligent efforts.




We are currently accepting applications for a Planning Commission vacancy.

Get involved - Apply to become a City Planning Commissioner!

The Planning Commission is comprised of five members, all of whom shall be residents of the City and shall not hold any paid office or employment with the City. Members serve four-year terms. Commissioners act in an advisory role to the City Council and make recommendations pursuant to California Government Code Section 65100.

Apply online now!

Apply online now or at the City Clerk’s office located at Big Bear Lake City Hall, 39707 Big Bear Boulevard, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315

Click here to download printable application »

Applications will be accepted now through January 15, 2021. For more information, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at or (909) 866-5832.





Vacation Rental Program

City staff has done a comprehensive review of the City's Vacation Rental Program/ordinance, and have drafted a proposed new ordinance to replace the existing ordinance and improve the City's vacation rental program. The new draft ordinance is designed to improve the program and achieve/maintain an acceptable balance between residential quality of life and vacation rental impacts in our community.

Documents to review:

For questions or comments regarding the proposed ordinances, please contact Larry Vaupel at (909) 866-5831 ext. 134 or

House Party Notice

The City requests assistance from vacation rental owners and agents in avoiding house parties this winter season. The noise, parties, parking, and occupancy standards will be strictly enforced this winter, and guests hosting house parties in vacation rentals will be cited and evicted. More information regarding the City's position on vacation rental house parties can be found HERE.


City of Big Bear Lake residents are encouraged to help us identify potential park and recreational features, consistent with the Statewide Parks Grant Program. Learn more about the grant program’s criteria, eligible potential park sites, and examples of eligible recreational features. We welcome residents of all ages, abilities, and income levels to help provide input for a future grant application(s).

Community Workshops have taken place on Monday, November 9, 2020, and Saturday, November 14. If you missed a workshop, don't worry - there are other ways you can participate! The Planning Commission and City Council workshops can be viewed live during or after the meeting. Please visit the City’s website for a video link to the Planning Commission and City Council meetings: https://bigbearlake.12milesout.com/#page=1

Another way to participate is to complete and email the Design Your Dream Park handout to . If you have questions or would like to provide comments, please contact the Planning Department at (909) 866-5831 or . Your participation is appreciated!

View the Workshop Powerpoint presented at the Planning Commission meeting on October 21, 2020, for more information regarding this grant opportunity. We can't wait to hear from you!


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