Lori Saldaña: Loss of Housing Due to Airbnb Leads to Declining School Enrollments and Subsidies

by on November 29, 2017 · 6 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Lori Saldaña / Nov 27, 2017

This is in response to the OB Rag article, “Come out to the protest rally against short term vacation rentals in Ocean Beach.”

As an educator, I want to remind people that removing affordable, permanent residential units from a neighborhood will- over time- lead to the closures of local public schools. Before that happens, declining enrollment will impact the quality of education for those few remaining students. It will also lead to the ending of subsidized pre-school programs for families who are at eligible income levels.

Mission Bay has already faced these closures. Can we really support similar impacts in other neighborhoods.

Also- as former  Chair of Assembly Housing and Community Development, I attended the OB/Point Loma Democratic Club presentation on #STVRs on November 26, and asked Councilwoman Barbara Bry if loss of housing due to Airbnb etc. invalidates the 2013 SANDAG Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) required by the State Housing & Community Development Agency- potentially opening the city to another series of lawsuits.

Bry’s response: “Good question.”

Her reply appears to confirm that no one has been looking at that basic question before the Dec. 12 City Council public hearing at Golden Hall.

The current RHNA covers the period of January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2020. Why has no study been done, to determine if these rentals are reducing available housing stock?

Given the declared housing affordability crisis- wouldn’t it be basic policy for Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Councilmembers Chris Ward, Barbary Bry and others on the Council to begin reviewing the validity of the RHNA before voting on any new ordinance?

Or- they could agree to amendments to their proposals,  include a sunset provision on whichever one is approved, and also add a funding requirement for money to be allocated for a thorough review of RHNA to ensure compliance after 2020. They need to determine how many STVR have been added since 2013, how any are projected to be permitted under new Council policy, and how many permanent residential housing units have been removed from projections in the past, and looking forward.


“The RHNA allocates housing needs in four income categories (very low, low, moderate, and above moderate) for each jurisdiction that will be used in local housing elements.”

For details on these reports and compliance issues see:



Finally: Apologies for not attending the recent rally- I was at the #MeToo March Saturday morning, and I arrived too late to the location in OB to participate.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

kh November 29, 2017 at 1:48 pm

We’ve had how many years now to sort this out?

And yet the council members are still woefully unprepared to be drafting policy proposals, let along vote on anything.


RB November 29, 2017 at 5:05 pm

The school enrollment in Ocean Beach and Point Loma has been on a decline for decades. Long before STVR the number of children per family has declined. Long before STVR the schools in OB/PL has replaced neighborhood students with students bussed from other parts of the District. In fact long before STVR, 50% of the student do not live in the area.

Only the city council could make this a big problem. Requiring an on site resident or house sharing for STRV stays less than a month in residential areas would solve most of the problems. The costs (noise, parking and security) of the STRV to the neighborhood should be borne by owner, not by the neighbors.


Lori Saldaña November 30, 2017 at 9:18 am

Good points. This is case where the benefits and profits are privately gained, while the costs you outline are borne by the public: increased traffic, noise, trash pickup, etc.

As for school impacts: If current changes in the district are already forcing parents to drive students to other schools, or requiring the district to add busses- how can the region meet climate action plan goals in coming years?

We need to reduce miles travelled and encourage more walking/bicycling. Neighborhood schools ideally would be within walking/biking distance for families.

Is anyone on the School Board tracking this issue?


John Thickstun November 30, 2017 at 8:14 pm

I believe Board of Education member, Dr. Michael McQuary, is tracking this. Thank you for writing this article and highlighting this issue, Lori. Would you please contact me at your earliest convenience? I’m a board member of Save San Diego Neighborhoods. You and I spoke abut this issue at the La Jolla Town Council meeting earlier this month. My email address is jthickstun@pattonthickstun.com


Lori Saldaña December 1, 2017 at 10:00 am

Thursday evening I spoke with a woman who read this article and contacted me. She has volunteered with the school district for several years and has seen the impact of vacation rentals on school closures in the Mission Bay and Pacific beach communities.

They have already closed one elementary school and converted it to a language immersion magnet school. It was located across the street from Mission Bay high school- Bay Terrace Elementary. I think they chose to close that one because it is closer to the freeways compared to other locations.

This helped to avert closures of other schools to the west that were also showing declining enrollment. However it falsifies the school enrollment data because it appears enrollment has increased at these schools despite vacation rentals coming into the area.

In fact what happened is: Enrollment was consolidated at those schools and families were forced to send children to different locations. School boundaries were redrawn. This in turn is increasing traffic in the beach neighborhoods that are already heavily congested.

Other parents are now driving to the new language immersion magnet school from throughout San Diego, increasing freeway traffic and congestion. This is also generating more miles traveled in violation of the city’s climate action plan goals.

The ripple effects continue: Parents who spend more time driving children to schools have less time to do volunteer work at those schools. Their children are less likely to participate in enrichment and after school activities such as sports, music etc.

I have been an educator for decades at the high school, community college, and university level. We need more parents engaged in our schools, and we need secure childhood educational pathways to ensure students succeed and are prepared to advance into higher educational programs.

The city Council (which in the past been engaged in coordinated after school activities with the the school district) is clearly not considering the impacts of vacation rentals on children’s educational opportunities.

This has long-term implications for students’ ability to succeed and continue into higher education. We need children to be better prepared to succeed in college, and all these impacts reduce that preparation time.

It also costs both the school districts and individual families more to have to drive children to schools far their from their homes, increases vehicle miles travelled, and has impacts on regional air quality and Climate Action Plan.

I appeal to parents of school-age children to contact Chris Ward and Barbara Bry re:the Dec. 12 STVR hearing, let them know you are concerned, and are wondering why schools are closing, enrollment is declining, and you are spending more time and money driving your children to schools, and increasing traffic in those neighborhoods and beyond.

I encourage others to also emphasize those points, and ask the Council to sunset and proposal until they can do a thorough evaluation of STVRs based on a regional planning and climate action plan perspective.


Frank Gormlie December 1, 2017 at 1:33 pm

D1 – Barbara Bry (619) 236-6611 barbarabry@sandiego.gov
D2 – Lorie Zapf (619) 236-6622 loriezapf@sandiego.gov

D3 – Chris Ward (619) 236-6633 christopherward@sandiego.gov

D4 – Myrtle Cole (619) 236-6644 myrtlecole@sandiego.gov

D5 – Mark Kersey (619) 236-6655 markkersey@sandiego.gov

D6 – Chris Cate (619) 236-6616 ChrisCate@sandiego.gov

D7 – Scott Sherman (619) 236-6677 scottsherman@sandiego.gov

D8 – David Alvarez (619) 236-6688 davidalvarez@sandiego.gov

D9 – Georgette Gómez (619) 236-6699 georgettegomez@sandiego.gov

hat tip to Chuck T


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