City logo home page link

CITY OF

PACIFIC GROVE       

Short-term Rental Program

Measure M: Effective November 27, 2018, new Short-Term Rentals (STR’s) are prohibited in areas outside the Coastal and Commercial zones. Existing Short-term Rentals outside the Coastal and Commercial zones are required to sunset on Wednesday, May 27, 2020. All existing STR Licenses outside the Coastal and Commercial zones will be ineffective on Thursday, May 28, 2020. To check the zoning of a STR, please visit the STR Map, the STR Database, or pgparcel.net. Furthermore, Home Sharing Licenses are affected by Measure M -- Home Sharing/Room Rentals are permitted throughout the City subject to City rules and regulations.

Measure U: Effective July 1, 2019, the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) rate will increase from 10% to 12%. 

STR Waitlist: There is currently no STR waitlist. However, a waitlist for STR licenses within the Coastal and Commercial Zones may be established in the future. Please let us know If you wish to be notified regarding the STR waitlist.

STR Lottery: Lottery results are available through the STR Database.

STR Program RevenueFiscal Year 16-17Fiscal Year 17-18.

Number of active STR Licenses: There are currently 254 active STR Licenses. To check the status of a STR License, please visit the STR Map or Database.

Current STR Ordinance: A copy of the current Short-Term Rental License Ordinance can be viewed here.

First-Time Applicants

Owners of Short-Term Rentals (STRs), also known as Vacation Rentals, are required to obtain a Short Term Rental or Home Sharing License per Chapters 7.40 and 23.64.350 of the Pacific Grove Municipal Code. These ordinances apply to all properties (including rooms and guest houses whether or not detached) rented for less than 30 consecutive days. If you (as the owner or tenant) are considering hosting short-term rentals, please read the information below carefully to determine your eligibility and the type of license you should be applying for.

Upcoming Meetings

No upcoming meetings are scheduled at this time. 

Past Meetings

3-5-19 Community Meeting

7-31-18 Community Workshop

What is Pacific Grove’s Historic Resources Inventory (HRI)?
The HRI is the City of Pacific Grove’s official listing of locally designated historic resources. The HRI is authorized by the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance (Chapter 23.76 of the Pacific Grove Municipal Code) and administered by the Historic Resources Committee (HRC), which may add or delete properties.
 
This list of historic buildings was initiated in 1978 with a matching grant from the State Office of Historic Preservation and adopted by the City of Pacific Grove. The properties surveyed by the Heritage Society in 1978 primarily date to from the 1880s to 1927. (This date was chosen because of the existence of two separate sources of verification, the 1926 Sanborn maps and the 1926 county assessor’s records). The HRI also includes other properties determined over the years by the Historic Resources Committee to be of architectural and/or historical significance. In 2005, the Heritage Society funded a photographic inventory of the more than 1,300 buildings on the Historic Resources Inventory.
 
Today, there are approximately 1,400 buildings listed on the City’s Historic Resources Inventory. Seven of these buildings are also listed on the National Register of Historic Places and/or California Register of Historical Resources. California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) 523 survey forms for nearly 600 of the 1,400 inventoried buildings are on file with the Community Development Department. There are many more buildings over 50 years of age that have yet to be surveyed.
 
What is the purpose of the HRI Update?
This phase of the HRI update will focus on re-surveying the approximately 1,400 buildings listed on the HRI to determine if they should remain on the inventory. This was identified as a next step in the Preservation Program Considerations prepared by Page and Turnbull in association with the HCS in 2011. Buildings will be formally surveyed using the significance and integrity thresholds provided in the Pacific Gove Historic Context Statement (HCS) as a framework for evaluation. Those buildings found to lack integrity and/or significance will be proposed for removal from the HRI as part of an effort to improve the existing inventory. The HRI Update will also identify potential historic districts in areas where buildings may be significant as a group.
 
Who decides whether my building should remain on the HRI?
A qualified consultant will make the determination as to a building’s historic status. Page & Turnbull is a historic preservation architecture and planning firm that authored Pacific Grove’s Historic Context Statement in 2011. Page & Turnbull’s a team includes architectural historians and preservation planners who meet the required Secretary of the Interior’s Professional Qualifications Standards for historic and cultural resource survey work. Survey results will also be reviewed by Community Development Department staff and the Historic Resources Committee and the Planning Commission. An Advisory Group comprised of the Mayor, Chairs of the Historic Resources Committee and Architectural Review Board, Vice-Chair of the Planning Commission, and a qualified representative of the Heritage Society will also act in an advisory role.
 
What is not included in the HRI Update survey?
This phase of the HRI Update will not intensively survey new buildings for potential inclusion in the HRI, though the consultant will provide a list of buildings identified in the field that may warrant survey and inclusion in a future effort.
 
How will the HRI Update survey be conducted?
Pacific Grove’s HRI Update will be undertaken with a tiered methodology, using GIS data and the Historic Context Statement, among other information. In order for a property to qualify as a historic resource, it must meet evaluation criteria as well as have sufficient integrity to convey its significance. With approximately 1,400 buildings on the HRI, Page & Turnbull’s tiered approach to surveying the buildings will begin with a reconnaissance survey of all of the buildings to narrow down those that retain integrity and should remain on the inventory, using the integrity thresholds outlined in the HCS.
 
The HCS and additional historic research will then be used to evaluate buildings that retain integrity using eligibility criteria for the HRI, the National Register of Historic Places, and the California Register of Historical Resources. While all surveyed properties will be documented in a survey database, this second tier of buildings will also receive State of California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) 523A (Primary Record) forms that briefly document their appearance, historic context, and evaluation of significance. DPR 523 forms are the accepted format in which to record a variety of resources, from buildings to archeological finds to bridges and roadways throughout the state. They were designed to be the final product of a survey, organized in a standardized statewide format.
 
Using recommendations from the Pacific Grove Preservation Program Considerations document (October 31, 2011, produced in association with the HCS) and observation during the reconnaissance survey, Page & Turnbull will identify geographic or thematic groupings of buildings that may comprise potential historic districts. The documentation of these districts will be included in the GIS data and the Survey Report, which will also summarize the overall findings of the HRI Update survey. Next steps regarding the establishment of any potential historic districts may be undertaken as a separate project given budget constraints.
 
What are the HRI’s significance criteria for evaluation?
The following criteria will be utilized to assess a historic property’s inclusion in the National and/or California Registers and HRI:
(a) Whether the structure has significant character, interest or value as part of the development, heritage or cultural characteristics of the city of Pacific Grove, the state of California, or the United States;
(b) Whether it is the site of a significant historic event;
(c) Whether it is strongly identified with a person who, or an organization which, significantly contributed to the culture, history or development of the city of Pacific Grove;
(d) Whether it is a particularly good example of a period or style;
(e) Whether it is one of the few remaining examples in the city of Pacific Grove possessing distinguishing characteristics of an architectural type or specimen;
(f) Whether it is a notable work of an architect or master builder whose individual work has significantly influenced the development of the city of Pacific Grove;
(g) Whether it embodies elements of architectural design, detail, materials or craftsmanship that represent a significant architectural innovation;
(h) Whether it has singular physical characteristics uniquely representing an established and familiar visual feature of a neighborhood, community, or of the city of Pacific Grove;
(i) Whether a resource with historical or cultural significance retains historic integrity. [Ord. 17-023 § 2, 2017; Ord. 01-25 § 1, 2001; Ord. 97-23 § 1, 1997].
 
What does integrity mean?
Integrity has very specific connotations regarding historic and cultural resources. Integrity is the authenticity of physical characteristics from which resources obtain their significance. Integrity is the composite of seven qualities: location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association. When a property retains its integrity, it is able to convey its significance, its association with events, people, and designs from the past.
 
How does inclusion or removal from the HRI benefit property owners?
Buildings with high levels of architectural significance, association with important events or people, and sufficient historic integrity will remain on the HRI. The preservation of historic character is a cultural and aesthetic benefit to the community. Some of the buildings may be documented as eligible for listing in the California or National Registers. Building owners of qualified historic buildings can follow the more flexible State Historical Building Code (SHBC). Buildings removed from the HRI for lack of integrity or significance may undergo a less arduous project review process if alterations are proposed.
 
Will a potential reduction of buildings on the HRI affect community character?
The HRI’s listing of individual buildings may decrease if some buildings are identified as lacking integrity and/or individual significance based on register criteria. However, the HRI Update survey’s identification of potential historic districts has the potential to counter this decease by identifying groupings of buildings that support community character but are not individually significant and may have a lower threshold of integrity. Additionally, any changes to single-family residences that are not listed on the City’s Historic Resources Inventory remain subject to the City’s permit process and the City’s existing Design Guidelines for Single-Family Residences.
 
Heritage Society Historic Home Green Plaque Program
The Pacific Grove Heritage Society is a nonprofit organization formed in 1975 that works to encourage the preservation and restoration of buildings that contribute to Pacific Grove. The organization operates independently and is not affiliated with the City. The Heritage Society’s popular Historic Homes Green Plaque program is a separate and independent program from the City’s Historic Resources Inventory. Please contact the Heritage Society for questions regarding this program.
 
Will the HRI affect my property tax?
No. The HRI will not be used for tax assessment purposes. It is also worth noting that concern about negative economic effects is often raised when discussing historic preservation. However, many studies have shown a direct correlation between the creation of historic preservation programs and policies and a long-term increase in property values. Some jurisdictions provide property tax relief for owners of historic resources.
 
Can I opt out of the survey?
No. All buildings currently listed in the HRI are included, and all of the city is open to possible historic district identification. Survey activity and evaluation is conducted from public rights-of-way.
 
Where can I learn more about the history of my property?
For those interested in learning more about Pacific Grove’s history, we suggest reviewing the Pacific Grove Historic Context Statement (Page & Turnbull, 2011), visiting the Pacific Grove Heritage Society, Pacific Grove Public Library, Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, Monterey Public Library (California Room), and California Historical Society. Primary sources you may want to reference include Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, newspaper articles, city directories, census data, and historic photographs. Secondary sources include books and publications, GIS maps, previous historical reports and survey documentation, and internet sources. Local historian Donald Howard provides exceptionally detailed accounts of Pacific Grove’s early development in his book, The Old Pacific Grove Retreat 1875 – 1940, which should be considered a primary reference for research on Pacific Grove.
 
Why is the Community Development Department involved with the HRI Update survey?
Surveys help inform the planning process. A building’s historic status can impact area-wide planning, development proposals, and review of individual building permit applications. The City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance (Chapter 23.76 of the Pacific Grove Municipal Code) directs the Community Development Department and Historic Resources Committee (HRC) to consider historic resources.
 
How can I help to ensure the success of this effort?
Please become involved in this project and attend the public meeting. Keep up-to-date on the project’s progress by visiting the project website (www.cityofpacificgrove.org/HRIUpdate). If you have easily accessible photographs of HRI buildings or streetscapes from the past to help the consultant understand past alterations and verify integrity, please send a scan of them to the consultant team or the city’s staff, Alyson Hunter, Associate Planner at ahunter@cityofpacificgrove.org or Haroon Noori, Management Analyst at hnoori@cityofpacificgrove.org.
 
The project schedule includes deadlines, so providing timely input is appreciated!

Existing License Holders

Over the last year, significant STR program changes have taken place. In May 2018, the City conducted a one-time STR Lottery that determined 51 STR Licenses to sunset on April 30, 2019. In November 2018, residents of Pacific Grove voted on Measure M and U which were subsequently passed, and approved on November 27, 2018. Both the STR Lottery and Measure M have direct implications on the vast majority of existing STR licenses. Please read the information below to understand how your STR license may be impacted and what license renewal requirements are:

STR Lottery: If your STR license was selected in the STR lottery; that means your STR license is scheduled to sunset on April 30, 2019. Since your current STR license expires on March 31, 2019, you are still required to renew your STR license should you wish to keep your license for the period of April 1 - April 30, 2019. The renewal process for these 51 STR Licenses will be simple and subject to $68.49 prorated fee. You will receive a notice along with the required paperwork and instructions during the second week of February. Lottery results are available through the STR Database. [Download Application Packet]

Measure M: If your STR property is outside the Coastal and Commercial zoning areas, your STR License is scheduled to sunset on Wednesday, May 27, 2020. STR Zoning information can be found through the STR Database, STR Map, or pgparcel.net. You may be able to renew your STR license for a full year. The fee to renew your STR License is $822. Detailed instructions on your STR License renewal are available in the “1 - Short-term Rental License Renewal” section below. You will receive a notice along with the required paperwork and instructions during the second week of February.

Measure U: Effective July 1, 2019, the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) rate will increase from 10% to 12%. You can expect to receive detailed clarification the TOT increase and its applicability within the next few weeks.

General STR License Renewal Information/Guidelines: STR License renewal for 2019-20 will begin on Monday, February 11, 2019 and end at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 29, 2019. Early submissions are highly encouraged although an application can be submitted on the last day of the STR license renewal period (i.e. Friday, March 29, 2019). The City will not be responsible for late receipt of any mailed application.

STR License renewal for 2019-20 will begin on Monday, February 11, 2019 and end at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 29, 2019. The City will send out renewal notices and application packets to all STR licensees in early Februay this year. Notices will provide specific instructions (including whether or not an inspection report is required) on the renewal process. In general, STR License renewal process will be as follows:

General Guidelines:

  • Early submissions are highly encouraged although an application can be submitted on the last day of the STR license renewal period (i.e. Friday, March 29, 2019).
  • The City will not be responsible for late receipt of any mailed application. All STR License Renewal applications must be received by no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, March 29, 2019.

Each STR license renewal packet must include all of the following items: (Download Application Packet)

1. STR License Renewal Form (Type or print; all sections must be filled out completely). Please note the following:

  • A STR owner is (while the licensed STR unit is rented) farther than 30 minutes away by car from the STR unit must appoint a Site Manager;
  • A STR owner must provide contact information for the placard which will be posted on the exterior of the STR Unit in a location visible at the front entrance. Any contact number(s) provided for the placard must be reachable 24/7.
  • If different than owner and/or site manager, the STR must provide name, phone, and email of the person(s) managing bookings and responsible for collection and remittance of Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)

2. Signed affidavit affirming appropriate smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are installed and fire extinguisher(s) are in accessible locations.

3. Building Inspection Report obtained through a certified third-party general contractor or building inspector. A Building Inspection Report is not required if one was submitted in February/March 2018.

4. Signed Owner Responsibility Form

5. List of hyperlinks for each online listing for the STR unit. All online listings must include the City-issued STR license number in the main title or property description areas of online listings. Online listing ID numbers and/or URLs must be submitted prior to your application submittal via email to hnoori@cityofpacificgrove.org or https://goo.gl/kzCrny.

6. Proof of TOT payment to demonstrate that the licensed STR unit has been rented for a minimum of:

  • 3 nights during the preceding 90 days – this applies to those STR license holders who obtained their license during the preceding 1-3 months;
  • 12 nights during the preceding 180 days – this applies to those STR license holders who obtained their license during the preceding 4-6 month; and
  • 24 nights in the year prior to the STR License renewal application – this applies to those STR license holders who have held a STR license for a whole year.

Acceptable proof of payment documentation include copies of filed TOT returns, deposited checks, and/or HDL receipts confirming that your TOT return was filed and processed. 

7) Check for the amount of $822 payable to the City of Pacific Grove. Credit card payments are subject to a 4% credit card processing fee.

Submit a complete STR license renewal application packet to the City, in person or by mail to the following address:

City of Pacific Grove
Short-Term Rental Program
300 Forest Avenue
Pacific Grove, CA 93950

Upon full satisfaction of all STR license renewal application requirements, a STR license may be renewed. The City will notify the owner (except if unless the owner requested mail delivery) by email and phone when the license is ready for pick up at the Community and Economic Development Department. If an owner requested mail delivery of a STR license, the City will issue a courtesy notice to the owner at the time the license has been mailed. 

Further, the City will provide laminated placards to STR owners concurrent with mailing of the STR license or when an owner picks up the license. Upon receipt of the renewed STR license, owners are required to replace the old license with the renewed license and prominently display the new license in plain view within the unit.  The owner is also required to post the placard at the front entrance of the STR unit.

Within 15 days of receipt of the renewed STR license by owner, the owner must provide the following information to the City:

1. A photo confirmation of the STR license being prominently displayed in plain view within the STR unit.

2. A photo confirmation of the placard being in a prominent location at the front entrance of the STR unit.

Grounds for nonrenewal of a STR License:

1. Incomplete application.

2. Failure to demonstrate the STR license number is displayed in all the online listings or failure to provide hyperlinks of each online listing to the City.

3. Failure to remit payment to the City at the time the STR license renewal application is submitted. 

4. The STR unit fails the Building Inspection, or the Building Inspection Report identifies an unsafe condition.

5. Failure to demonstrate that the licensed STR unit has been rented at least once during the preceding 90 days, 4 times during the preceding 180 days, or  at a minimum of 8 times in the year prior to the STR renewal application.

6. Evidence of two or more verified violations as described in Section 7.40.080(d) during the preceding 12 months.

7. Failure to demonstrate all TOT owed to the City has been paid prior to the date of the STR renewal application.

The Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) rate is 10% and is payable to the City on a monthly basis. Payments are due by the 15th day of the month following the close of each reporting period. For example, taxes collected for the first time started in January; those taxes collected are due no later than February 15th.

TOT returns can be filed online at https://pacificgrove.hdlgov.com/ or by mail. To file TOT returns by mail, complete and mail the TOT return form along with your payment to the following address:

City of Pacific Grove TOT Processing Center
8839 N Cedar Ave #212
Fresno, CA 93720

Additional Instructions:

For those of you who are hosting short-term rentals through Airbnb (exclusively or otherwise), you may already know that Airbnb is collecting and remitting TOT for all bookings/reservations that were confirmed on or after December 1, 2017. Please note that Airbnb will not collect or remit your TOT for bookings that you have confirmed prior to December 1, 2017. Therefore, it is your responsibility to pay TOT on all reservations that were confirmed prior to December 1, 2017 and honored in December, or that will be honored in the coming months.

Please also note that the City does not have TOT collection and remittance agreements with any other hosting platform (including VRBO, HomeAway, TripAdvisor, Flipkey, vacationrentals.com, etc.). Therefore, it is your responsibility to pay TOT on all income earned through the aforementioned hosting platforms.

Finally, please be advised that you are required to file your TOT return monthly, regardless of whether you use Airbnb exclusively, or are hosting short-term rentals on multiple hosting platforms. Here are instructions for filing TOT for the upcoming reporting periods, in view of these changes:

1. Determine Total Gross Rent for December: this is the total amount charged your occupants during the period, regardless of whether it was charged by you, or by Airbnb.
 
2. Determine Airbnb Gross Rent for December: this is the total amount charged by Airbnb for occupants who booked after December 1, 2017, and rented your property during the December period. You can determine this amount by finding in your Airbnb reports the amount of TOT charged your renters in December, and dividing that amount by 0.1.
 
3. Go to the City's TOT portal.
 
4. Proceed to file through the website, as normal. When prompted, provide the Total Gross Rent and Airbnb Gross Rent numbers. The website will exempt the TOT amount Airbnb paid on your behalf, so that you do not double pay the tax amount. 
 
For questions regarding TOT or filing process, please contact the City's TOT processing center at (831) 920-3890, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If the owner and/or street address of the STR have changed, you MUST submit a new application.

If other application information (such as phone number, email, mailing address, etc) has changed, owners/agents MUST immediately supply the information to the City, without having to submit a new application. The information can be submitted to the City using the STR Contact Update Form. Alternatively, you can call (831) 648-3190 to update your information.

If your property manager has changed, you MUST appoint a new property manager as soon as possible. You must submit a written request and a statement with signature from your agent to the City.

Once we have received your updated contact information, we will change your license accordingly. The fee for amending and reprinting your license is $5.

Filing a complaint:

Call 9-1-1, if it is an emergency (such as fire, medical emergency, suspicious activity, etc)
To file a complaint regarding excessive noise or a loud party, illegal parking, improper and excessive trash disposal, too many overnight guests, or any other disruptive behavior at a STR unit, please follow these steps:
 
Step 1: Contact the Site Manager – anytime (24/7): Site Manager’s contact information can be found on the STR placard (sample STR placard) posted on each STR unit or through the STR Database.
  • If the Site Manager responds, please describe your complaint and ask that your complaint be resolved immediately or within no more than 30 minutes of your request as required by the Ordinance. You may elect to provide your name and contact information to the STR Site Manager so they can follow up with you on your complaint.
    • If your complaint is resolved within 30 minutes from the time you notified the STR Site Manager, then the City will deem this as complete. You may notify the City of such complaint(s) via the online complaint form or via email at codecompliance@cityofpacificgrove.org. The City will track each incident against a STR and take all incidents into account at the time of license renewal.
  • If STR Site Manager does not respond, then go to step 2. If your complaint is not resolved within 30 minutes from the time you notified the STR Site Manager, leave a voice message for the Site Manager describing your concern(s), and provide your name and contact information to the STR Site Manager so they can follow up with you on your complaint.
Step 2: Contact the Police Department at (831) 648-3143 if you are calling after business hours. If you are filing a complaint during business hours, you may call the City Hall directly at (831) 648-3116 or (831) 648-3190. When calling the Police Department and/or City Hall, please provide the STR address, a description of the nature of the activity, and any other relevant information. Complaints may be filed anonymously, however, you may wish to provide your contact information so that our code compliance staff can contact you to discuss your complaint in detail.
 
Note: If the nature of a complaint is non-emergency and cannot be resolved within 30 minutes (e.g. a tree needs pruning, a garage being used for living, or any other pre-existing condition at the STR unit that concerns you but is a non-emergency) report the situation to the Code Compliance office at (831) 648-3116 or codecompliance@cityofpacificgrove.org.
 

Reporting Illegal Short-term Rentals:

Suspected illegal Short-term Rentals can be reported to the City via the following methods:

Fines and Penalties for Illegal Short-term Rental Hosting

Violations of the City’s short-term rental ordinance are subject to penalties of at least 60 percent of the total revenue earned through illegal hosting. Penalties begin on day one of illegal short-term rental activity and continue to accrue until the violation is fully abated. Repeat violations may be subject to escalated penalties including referral to the City Attorney’s Office for additional assessment (i.e. lien) on the subject property. Further, illegal STR’s are ineligible from obtaining a STR license for two consecutive years.

 

Over the past few months, the City has held numerous public hearings to revise STR regulations. At the December 20, 2017 meeting, the City Council adopted the revised STR ordinance and the Administrative Procedures manual. The new ordinance repealed and replaced Chapter 7.40 of the Pacific Grove Municipal Code in its entirety for ease of staff interpretation and understanding by the public. Below is a list of all public hearings on this matter:

City Council meeting minutes and video recordings are available at the City Council page.