The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES BREYER, District Judge
In this section 1983 action plaintiff challenges San Mateo's
adoption of an ordinance regulating bed and breakfast
establishments. The Court previously dismissed some of the
claims, but denied defendant's motion to dismiss as to others.
Now pending before the Court is defendant's motion for summary
judgment on the remaining claims.
In 1999, plaintiff purchased residential property at 1201 West
Selby Lane, Redwood City, California ("the property"), located
outside the Coastal Zone in the unincorporated section of
defendant San Mateo County ("defendant"). The property is in an
area designated as "R-1" (residential single-family homes) under
local zoning ordinances. On or about August 24, 2000, plaintiff
applied for a building permit for construction of a bed and
breakfast. In so doing, plaintiff claims to have relied on
defendant's pamphlets and ordinances which stated that for
locations outside the Coastal Zone, no use permit or license is required to construct a bed and breakfast, and that so long as
an R-1 single family home retains the appearance of a single
family dwelling and satisfies parking requirements, an owner may
rent five or fewer rooms short term in their own home and provide
meals for guests.
From March 7, 2002, to November 5, 2002, plaintiff was issued
her demolition, building, and sewer permits.
On December 11, 2003, plaintiff was asked to appear at a San
Mateo County Planning Department meeting to discuss neighbor
concerns about plaintiff's bed and breakfast, which was expected
to open within two to four weeks. At the meeting, defendant
presented plaintiff with a proposed "Urgency Interim Ordinance"
that in application modified the existing zoning laws and
impacted only plaintiff's property. Defendant's findings in
relation to the ordinance declared that as a result of analysis
of 1201 West Selby Lane, the potential threat to neighborhood
character by bed and breakfasts warranted modification of county
On December 16, 2003, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors
voted to adopt the Urgency Interim Ordinance, which in effect
placed additional restrictions on plaintiff's ability to operate
her bed and breakfast. The Ordinance's "Findings and
Declarations" note that Section 6400 of the San Mateo County
Zoning Regulations authorizes certain specified "accessory uses"
in a residential district, and in 1989 the San Mateo County
Planning Director adopted a policy that recognized that a bed and
breakfast operation of five or fewer rooms was an authorized
accessory use. Ordinance No. 4200 at 1. The Findings further note
that plaintiff was advertising her proposed bed and breakfast as
serving the "business and leisure traveler," and as indicating
the availability of a "conference room," and the ability to host
"small meetings" and "seminars." Id. at 2. The Ordinance
recites that this advertising concerned the Board that the
operation of plaintiff's bed and breakfast would not be
consistent with the residential character of the neighborhood.
In light of these findings, the Ordinance provides that the
"providing of table board in a dwelling in which any room is
rented at any time for a period of less than 30 consecutive days (commonly known as a bed and breakfast inn)" is a permitted
incidental use of a dwelling in a residential area, provided the
bed and breakfast complies with certain restrictions. For
example, "[t]he maximum number of registered guests . . . on any
given evening shall not exceed 1.5 times the number of guest
rooms . . ." and the "maximum number of guest motor vehicles
parked on site . . . shall be limited to the number of off street
or driveway parking spaces provided." The Ordinance also
There shall be no hosting of meetings, conferences or
social events, whether on a commercial or
non-commercial basis, involving on-site participants
who are not registered guests. . . . Similar events
for registered guests shall be conducted indoors only
between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday
A December 2003 memorandum to the Board of Supervisors from the
San Mateo County Director of Environmental Services explains that
the purpose of the "meetings and conferences" restriction is to
"limit activities that go beyond the traditional purpose of bed
and breakfast inns: overnight accommodations."
On December 23, 2003, plaintiff filed this Section 1983 action
making eight claims challenging the adoption of the Ordinance on
First Amendment and substantive due process grounds.
The next month the Board of Supervisors adopted a new ordinance
to supercede the emergency ordinance. The new ordinance includes
the same restrictions with a few exceptions. Notably, the
restriction on meetings, conferences or social events expressly
does not apply to persons who reside at the bed and breakfast as
their residence: "These limitations do not apply to personal
social events or meetings engaged in by person occupying the
dwelling as a single family residence." Ordinance No. 4204 at 5.
Plaintiff subsequently amended her complaint. Her First Amended
Complaint included a claim for relief alleging that the
restriction on the hosting of meetings, conferences or social
events was "void for vagueness," as well as a claim for equitable
estoppel and declaratory relief, among other claims.
Defendants moved to dismiss the First Amended Complaint. By
Memorandum and Order dated July 19, 2004, the Court granted
defendants' motion in part. Thereafter the County passed a new ordinance which prohibits the operation of
new bed and breakfasts in non-coastal residential areas of San
Mateo County, but exempted existing bed and breakfasts, that is,
plaintiff's bed and breakfast. Ordinance No. 4225. Plaintiff's
bed and breakfast, however, is still subject to Ordinance No.
4204, including the "meetings and conferences" prohibitions.
Plaintiff subsequently filed a Second Amended Complaint
("SAC"). The SAC makes two substantive claims: (1) a facial First
Amendment challenge on the ground that the restriction on the
hosting of meetings, conferences, and social events is inherently
vague, and (2) a claim that defendant is barred by equitable
estoppel from enforcing the bed and breakfast restrictions
against her. Defendant moves for summary ...