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.
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:
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.
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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.
The County is currently administering vaccines for those in PHASE 1A. Click HERE to see details on each phase.
Sign-up HERE for the County's Vaccine Notification emails.
Support Local Businesses
Many of you are understandably worried in these uncertain times. We are here to support your needs. As a community, we must all come together to help our business community weather tough times. You can do this in many ways:
Help for Small Businesses
For California Labor Laws, click here.
For the San Bernardino County Workforce guides, click here.
SBDC Employer COVID 19 Resource Packet: Provides a variety of resources for COVID-19 disaster relief including loans for qualifying businesses and valuable information for employers and employees. Download the resource packet to learn more.
Inland Empire Small Business Development Center (IE SBDC): Free resources for small businesses to get consulting and access to capital programs.
CA Department of Public Health: Frequent updates about the COVID-19 virus including State Health Emergency Announcements, Quarantine and Social Distancing Guidelines
CA Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz): The Governor's Office of Business And Economic Development has compiled helpful information about COVID-19 for employers and employees in California
CA Labor and Workforce Development Agency: COVID-19 Resources for Workers and Employers relating to Paid Sick Leave, Disability and Unemployment Insurance, Paid Family Leave, Workplace Health and Safety
CA iBank Small Business Finance Center: California Small Business Loan Guarantee Program and Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee Program
CA Treasurer's CalCap Program: Special Loan Program which encourages banks to make loans to small businesses which have difficulty getting financing
SBA Disaster Loan Program (SBA): The Small Business Administration is offering disaster assistance to California Small Businesses economically impacted by Coronavirus
CA Employment Development Department (EDD): For businesses that have employee and employer concerns
Inland Empire Microenterprise Collaborative: This resources is a collection of microlenders who can provide loans up to $75,000.00 to small businesses
City-County Communications and Marketing Association: Another site for businesses and city government to find resources.
California State Assembly: Another site to provide Federal, State and local resources to help businesses maintain operations
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.
Through September of this year, there have been more than 200,000 complaints to the US Federal Trade Commission on scams related to COVID-19.
Here is a new resource for consumers on COVID-19 Cybercrime and Scams. This guide describes all of the types of scams reported by consumers, provides examples of malicious e-mails, websites, and illegal activity. It also provides a guide on what to do if you believe you’re being scammed, and. how to protect yourself.
How do I report Scams?
If you are a resident of Big Bear Lake, the City encourages you to remain vigilant, and adhere to the following recommendations:
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:
GOVERNOR NEWSOM’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.
If your business is permitted to operate in the Big Bear Valley, the City encourages ALL businesses to diligently implement the following:
Please post the flyer(s) below in multiple visible locations to provide a constant reminder!
GUIDANCE FOR BUSINESSES IF AN EMPLOYEE HAS SYMPTOMS OR TESTS POSITIVE
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.
We are currently accepting applications for a Planning Commission vacancy.
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 or at the City Clerk’s office located at Big Bear Lake City Hall, 39707 Big Bear Boulevard, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
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:
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!