On February 16, 2017, Travis C. Logue and Jason W. Wansor, attorneys with the Santa Barbara law firm of Rogers, Sheffield & Campbell, LLP, filed Theo Kracke’s Opposition to the City of Santa Barbara’s Anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Pubic Participation) Motion.

The Coastal Commission’s letter of December 6, 2016 states the Coastal Commission’s current position that any regulation of short-term vacation rentals within the Coastal Zone amounts to “development” and requires either a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) or an amendment to the City’s Local Coastal Program (LCP).  The relief requested in Mr. Kracke’s Petition is that the City either obtain a CDP or amend its LCP.  Even though Mr. Kracke’s Petition is consistent with the Coastal Commission’s policy on the issue, the City characterizes the Petition as “frankly outrageous.”  In addition, the City asserts Mr. Kracke’s legal challenge is intended to chill the City’s freedom of speech under the First Amendment and is a “strategic lawsuit against public participation” under Code of Civil Procedure Section 425.16.  The City also requests an award of attorneys’ fees.

According to Mr. Kracke’s Opposition, the Petition was brought in the public interest to compel the City's compliance with the Coastal Act and its own municipal code. Moreover, the City Council’s discussions regarding whether and how to enforce the ban on short-term vacation rentals is not protected speech or activity since the basis of the controversy is an ordinance, law or decision. Finally, Kracke’s Opposition asserts there is a strong probability he will prevail on the merits of the Petition, thus overriding the City’s claim for protection under the First Amendment.

For all of these reasons, Mr. Kracke argues the City’s Special Motion to Strike should be denied.

Mr. Kracke contends the City’s motion is frivolous, objectively unreasonable, intended to cause unnecessary delay, and unsupported by case law.  Therefore, Mr. Kracke is requesting that the court award his attorney’s fees and costs under Sections 425.16(c)(1) and 128.5 in having to oppose the City’s baseless motion.

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Rogers, Sheffield Campbell, LLP Files Suit Against City of Santa Barbara Over Vacation Rental Ban

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