Latest News and Updates

A draft ordinance has been issued. Please download here.

A notice was sent out for the Planning Commission hearing on March 29, 2017 to consider preliminary draft regulations on short term rentals for overnight accommodations in residential areas in the unincorporated area of Monterey County.” Note: STR PC Notice 032917

This meeting comes at a very inopportune time for us in Big Sur. It is of course important that all our voices be heard therefore PLEASE:

Send an e-mail asking for a postponement of this meetingand any other public meetings in regard to STR’s, until such time as reliable access has been restored to the Big Sur coastal area.

Please send to:
Carl Holm:
Mary Adams:
Melanie Beretti:


A 37 minute part of a two hour conversation with Big Sur resident and Defense committee member, Tim Green. Well worth listening to. HERE!

About AirBnB in Los Angeles: Well worth reading ! HERE!

Planning Commission Workshop 11.09 notes taken by Kirk Gafill – HERE.

Letter from Supervisor Potter HERE!

HERE is the statement made by Congressman Farr. 

Link to a full video of meeting HERE.

STR Memo 4.04.17STR Memo 4.04.1711.08.16

IF YOU CAN’T BE AT THE MEETING SEND AN E-MAIL TO: Melanie Beretti at Monterey County Planning Department:
You can copy and paste the blue text below: (you can of course say whatever you want but it is fine, and useful, just to make a quick statement too!)   (-:      do include project name etc.

Project File No. REF130043 and REF100042e

I am opposed to making it legal to do Short Term Rental in the Big Sur Planning Area.
Please make my comment part of the Planning Commission record.

Signed  N.N.

Sending this e-mail will HELP save Big Sur from becoming a complete commercial zone dedicated (even more) to the few that can afford it. 

PLEASE SEND THE E-Mail NOW! And forward this to anyone you think would help!

It will postpone the inevitable and dangerous gridlock that will occur on Highway One (unless something is done). 

It will hopefully help save the few houses that are still available to rent for the people who work in Big Sur.

From the Big Sur LUP: “The significance of the residential areas for planning purposes is that they have the capacity, to some extent, to accommodate additional residential demand. Unlike the larger properties or commercial centers, they are not well suited for commercial agriculture, commercial, or visitor uses (author’s emphasis); use of these areas, to the extent consistent with resource protection, should continue to be for residential purposes.” (LUP, 5.1.1, pg. 81)

IMPORTANT: There is a Monterey County Planning Commission Public Workshop on Short-Term Rentals scheduled for November 9, 2016.  It will be held at the Government Center – 168 W. Alisal, Salinas, CA, 93901.

The workshop is currently intended to be the last one before the ordinance is drafted. County staff promises to distribute information for the workshop at least a week before the hearing. (We will put it up here as soon as it is published).

County Staff also suggests that depending on the outcome of the workshop the ordinance may be brought forward in 3-4 months.

You may confirm this date and download a copy of the agenda (when it is posted) at the Planning Commission web site by clicking HERE.

To make comments on agenda items go HERE!

If you haven’t yet!  Please join us!

If you read this and you would like to suggest news items for us to disseminate through this site please e-mail us.

In recent e-mails in the Big Sur community there’s been some discussion about the national effort to regulate STR’s and the virtue in joining in that effort or not. A website that gives some info is here:

Our land use issues take on a different hue when we now are fighting for our homes and land. When we spring into action, when neighbors join together.

We’ve had too many destructive fires in Big Sur lately. That hazy sky, the smell of smoke, the sense of helplessness when friends in need are inaccessible, the layer of ash, the eerily beautiful light (especially the sunset) and the knot in your stomach. Your mind racing through the various places where fire clearance can be improved, deep gratitude for the Big Sur Volunteers Fire Brigade and all the other firefighters from around the state and country, the frustration of not being able to fully comprehend reports because of a vague knowledge about exactly where green, long, rocky, palo, bixby, creeks and ridges all intersect and interact higher up and further east. A grapevine fairly vibrating with pent up need for true information: Thank God for a ‘portal’ like Big Sur Kate.

Let’s pray that the the suppression efforts get help from the weather and that this does not develop into one of the worst in history…it does not look good at the time of writing this…

The Planning Commission Workshop on July 13 showed the Commissioners that there are a lot of people in the community who are adamantly opposed to the idea of making STR’s legal in Big Sur. We did really well! Many good testimonies that were all heartfelt and well argued. (As I think was not the case from the opposition who were mostly folks driven by a more short term financial goal in mind).

NOTE: ACTION ITEM NOW   (please help to spread the word)
If you haven’t yet sent your comments please do so to:
Melanie Beretti & Mary Adams as soon as possible.

Melanie Beretti, Special Programs Manager
Project File No. REF130043 and REF100042
Ask to have your comments copied and sent to each commissioner.

Mary Adams, our newly elected  5th District Supervisor: or call 831.313.4605

Note: If you e-mail your comments it is best to format in a word processor and then saving and sending as a pdf via e-mail. (you can certainly have the content in the body of the e-mail as well). Please cc we will share it here on the site as inspiration and education for everyone.

The STR’s steering committee is currently scheduling meetings with the Coastal Commissioners. We will report here when news comes in from those meetings.

Here are some  good recent letters. Click on the titles.
Letter from Barbara Woyt
Statement of Robert N. Danziger
Letter from Jerri Masten
Letter from George Braff

A recent letter dated June 23 to Carl Holm, Mty. County RMA Director, from Susan Craig, Central Coast District Manager, California Coastal Commission.

On July 13, at 9AM the Monterey County Resource Management Agency (Planning Department) will present its plans to develop a short-term rental ordinance to the County Planning Commissioners.  Please consider being at the meeting to let your voice be heard to make sure that STR’s remain illegal in the Big Sur planning area. See notice here:  STR Public Notice 071316


The LCP Defense Committee is engaged with the County addressing the enforcement efforts of existing ordinances prohibiting short term rentals in the Big Sur Planning Area. If you are opposed to that effort then please notify us via e-mail ( and we will have your name removed from the supporter list. 

Kirk Gafill wrote a letter on behalf of the LCP Defense Committee to the 5 Supervisors in opposition to the efforts by short term rental advocates to have a moratorium enacted on enforcement efforts. (see post 03.30.16 below). Read his letter HERE.

A copy of a memo that the then Planning Director Mike Novo wrote prior to his retirement on March 31, 2016, memorializing comments he had made about his views on short term rentals. Link: HERE.


The MCVRA has published a “Take Action Now” memo asking folks to write a letter to County Supervisors demanding a moratorium on prosecuting STR’s. See letter HERE.


Procedures for how to file a complaint about STR’s in your neighborhood:


Update on Efforts of the LCP Defense Committee
During the past several months, members of the LCP Defense Committee have met a number of times with representatives of the County of Monterey, including District 5 County Supervisor, Dave Potter.  We have presented and discussed our reasons for opposing any inclusion of the Big Sur Coast Planning Area ( the area from Mal Paso Creek to the Monterey County/San Luis Obispo County line), in a potential new County ordinance permitting short term rentals within the coastal zone.

During this same timeframe,  the county issued its interpretation of the question of whether short term rentals of residential properties are permitted within the coastal zone, including the Big Sur Coast Planning Area.  The County Planning Director’s interpretation, supported by County Counsel, is that such short term rentals are not permitted.  The interpretation is posted (HERE) on this website.  This interpretation may assist Big Sur homeowners associations in taking appropriate action where violations are occurring. The county has affirmed that they will respond to complaints of violations of the short term rental prohibition.

We have been encouraged by the response we have thus far received to why we believe short term rentals in Big Sur would violate the Land Use Plan and why Big Sur should be excluded from any future county ordinance which may permit such rentals. While we believe that County representatives have understood our reasoning, we make no representation that they are in agreement. We are at a relatively early stage of a process with many more stages of review and consideration.  

It is important to understand that the efforts of the Big Sur LCP Defense Committee are occurring at the same time that a separate county wide group is assisting in the drafting of a County ordinance which considers short term rentals within the entire coastal zone of Monterey County. The efforts of the LCP Defense Committee are limited to the Big Sur Coast Planning Area, to the protections and direction contained in the LCP and to the exemption of the Big Sur Coast Planning Area from any future ordinance which may permit short term rentals within the coastal zone of Monterey County.

Members of the LCP Defense Committee will continue to meet with county representatives until these issues are resolved.  

The Short Term Rental Issue Papers which have been submitted to the County dated  May 21, 2015 HERE and September 4, 2015 HERE.

The issue statement from the Defense Committee sent to:
Melanie Beretti, Resource Management Agency Project Manager
Mike Novo, Director of Planning Department
Carl Holm, Acting Director of Resource Management Agency
Les Girard, Assistant Monterey County Counsel
Supervisor Dave Potter
Supervisor John Phillips
Supervisor Fernando Armenta
Supervisor Jane Parker
Supervisor Simon Salinas

Below is the ‘CONCLUSION’ and ‘RECOMMENDATION’ of the issue statement.

Short term rentals are neither permitted nor are they consistent with the letter and spirit of the LUP. Further, their exclusion as a permitted development in the Big Sur Planning Area must be supported with a successful enforcement effort. Each current and additional short term rental in the Big Sur Planning Area represents an additional increase in destination traffic impacts, a conversion of existing housing and the loss of long term community housing stock.

  • The added transient visitor use resulting from short term rental conversions causes significant additional and cumulative destination traffic impacts on Highway 1, further reducing its capacity to provide for the priority scenic driving uses protected by the certified Big Sur Coast Land Use Plan.
  • The vast majority of short term rentals, prior to their conversion, were affordable long term rentals. Their conversion represents a clear conflict with the county’s responsibility under the LUP to protect existing affordable housing and the State General Plan law.
  • The local community that is recognized in the LUP as a key resource for the public and responsible for the care and preservation of the Big Sur coast is comprised of property owners and tenants, with the majority being tenants. The loss of housing due to short term rental conversions thus has an overwhelming negative impact on the tenant portion of our community.

The Big Sur Coast Planning Area should be excluded from any countywide ordinance permitting short term rentals and an appropriate enforcement mandate should be adopted to make this exclusion effective.


From the Big Sur LUP: “The significance of the residential areas for planning purposes is that they have the capacity, to some extent, to accommodate additional residential demand. Unlike the larger properties or commercial centers, they are not well suited for commercial agriculture, commercial, or visitor uses (author’s emphasis); use of these areas, to the extent consistent with resource protection, should continue to be for residential purposes.” (LUP, 5.1.1, pg. 81)

On July 9 the County of Monterey issued a statement confirming that STR’s are illegal in the Coastal Zone. This puts to rest any doubt about what the law says regarding STR’s.

See statement HERE!

The County of Monterey is now working on a redraft of the STR ordinances. The negative impact of STR’s on the Big Sur Coast are many and STR’s are in clear conflict with the Big Sur LCP.

Let us continue the ongoing work to make sure that the LCP is taken into full account so that STR’s are kept out of the Big Sur Planning Area once and for all!

Help us gather support – send the link to this website to your friends and neighbors – the more support we can show the better.


The legal counsel for the MCVRA (Monterey County Vacation Rental Association) ‘disagrees’ with the clarification document. Correspondence between the MCVRA attorney, Gary Patton, and County officials may be read HERE.


If you haven’t yet!  Please join us!

Please encourage your friends and neighbors to join us in this important effort!


Regarding the senate bill 593 – “Ordered to inactive file on request of Senator McGuire.”
Please read more here.


LETTERS TO THE Big Sur LCP website:

I am completely AGAINST any form of STR activity in Big Sur.  Having 2 contiguous property owners continuing to violate the Code and the Law, seeing the speeding cars on our private road system, hearing drunken party short term renters disturbing the previously pristine quiet solace of our spectacular coast, increasing the traffic on the Coast highway, increasing the traffic on our private road system, with renters, cleaning staff, supply and repair persons is outrageous. It is against the Law. The lawbreaking owners’ excuse, they need the money…what 60-110k per year…do they really need that to maintain the property?

Please have your  Law/Code now being drafted reflect zero tolerance for STR owners. Please put a series of substantial monetary  fines followed by injuctions and jail time for these immoral individuals written into the Rules. Respectfully submitted/ george braff
47826 middle road big sur 93920    831-667-2457.

Dear Big Sur Neighbors, Elected Officials and Future Elected Officials:
We take the position that STRs should remain illegal in the Big Sur planning area. Every effort should be taken to preserve the status quo of residential zones. The non-visitor-serving ridge tops, canyons, ledges, and valleys are where those fine people live who have the deepest passion for protecting Big Sur’s natural beauty and unique human culture. To sell out these community members for the almighty transient tourist buck is nothing less than criminal.  / Carol and Carl Shadwell