City Attorney: Short-term vacation rentals not permitted under City’s Municipal Code
San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott has issued a memorandum of law advising the City Council and Mayor that short-term vacation rentals (STVR) are illegal in the city’s residential zones.
“The City has a “permissive zoning ordinance.” This means that any use that is not listed in the City’s zoning ordinance is prohibited. Short-term vacation rentals are not specifically defined, expressly permitted, or listed in any of the zone use categories, including residential or commercial,” Elliott said in her memo, issued on March 15.
You can read the entire two-page memo below.
The memo is a game-changer in a struggle begun by citizens in 2007 to regulate STVR. Save San Diego Neighborhoods and others have long argued that the San Diego Municipal Code prohibits owner-unoccupied vacation rentals in residential zones. The memo confirms that view is, and has been, correct. …
The City Attorney memo comes at a time when the City’s Smart Growth and Land Use Committee is scheduled to again take up the vacation rental issue on March 24. An ordinance offered by Council Members Barbara Bry and Lorie Zapf would address home-sharing (where the owners are present and rent out rooms).
In the wake of Elliott’s memo, Bry issued the following statement:
“I was pleased to read the memo issued by City Attorney Mara Elliott confirming that short-term vacation rentals do not fall under any permissible use in the Municipal Code and are therefore prohibited in the City of San Diego. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Council to determine the best way to allow property owners to participate in home sharing, while also enforcing existing City Code to protect residential communities from the proliferation of mini-hotels.”
Here is the 2-page memo: