Description: Challenge to Ventura County ordinance that banned short-term rentals in Ojai Valley.
TruOjai, LLC v. County of Ventura
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 06/23/2020 Ruling Download Writ of mandate denied. A California Superior Court rejected claims that Ventura County failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) when it adopted an ordinance that imposed strict compliance requirements for temporary rental units, including short-term rentals and homeshares, and banned short-term rentals in the Ojai Valley. The petitioner alleged that the ordinance would result in environmental impacts, including increased traffic and vehicle miles traveled and increased greenhouse gas emissions due to additional trips required for visitors to drive to and from lodging. The court found that the County established the ordinance was covered by two CEQA exemptions: the "Class 8" exemption for actions that "assure the maintenance, restoration, enhancement, or protection of the environment" and the "common sense exemption" for actions for which "there is no possibility that the activity in question may have a significant effect on the environment." The court concluded that the County appropriately relied on these exemptions based on the ordinance's likely preservation of long-term housing stock. With respect to the Class 8 exemption, the court found that the ordinance did not fall into an exception to the exemption for actions for which there is a reasonable possibility that the action will have a significant effect on the environment due to unusual circumstances. Among other points, the court said the petitioner's argument that vehicle miles traveled would increase due to increased miles traveled by tourists did not account for the possibility that allowing short-term rentals would increase vehicle miles traveled because people who worked in Ojai Valley would have to live further away.