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


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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