San Diego City Council Affirms Vote on Short Term Vacation Rentals

by on August 2, 2018 · 13 comments

in Ocean Beach

After a long, over 5 hour hearing, with at least 4 of them public testimony, the San Diego City Council voted 6 to 2 Wednesday, August 1, affirming their earlier July 16 vote to regulate short term vacation rentals. It was the second reading, a requirement of any ordinance passed by the Council before it can go into law.

Only Councilmembers Scott Sherman and David Alvarez voted against the measure – as Chris Cate was absent for the vote. (The OB Rag had reporter Bob Edwards, on the scene, who sent in notes used in this report.)

There was a bit of a mini-crisis at the beginning of the hearing, which began at 1pm in Council Chambers on the 12th Floor of City Hall.

City Attorney Mara Elliot announced to the Council that a clerical error on the agenda included the so-called Mission Beach “carve-out” or exemption – part of the original proposal put forward by Mayor Faulconer – but later deleted when the Council finalized its amendments and passed the ordinance back in mid-July.

Line to get into the meeting. Photo by Bob Edwards

Elliot advised the Council resuming the meeting could be a violation of the Brown Act, as the incorrect agenda could have dissuaded investors of Mission Beach vacation rentals to avoid the meeting. According to San Diego Union Tribune, Elliot told the Council:

“I can imagine there could be a resident of Mission Beach who read today’s notice and was under the impression that the original ordinance containing the Mission Beach exclusion was still under consideration. For that reason, we may wish to consider rescheduling today’s hearing.”

The meeting was delayed for about an hour – but Council President Myrtle Cole gaveled it back to order around 2pm. Cole “cited scheduling conflicts and courtesy to the crowd as reasons the meeting continued” as 7SanDiego reported.

The pro-Airbnb table outside City Hall. Make sure you return the shirts when the meeting is over.

The pro-Airbnb crowd had been mobilized – as one of the organizers threatened to unleash a “firestorm of anger” at the Council in an effort to countermand the original vote. Yet, historically, it’s very rare a second reading of a Council vote overturns the original measure approved.

Edwards reported he spoke with Cathie Jolley from the anti-short term rental side before the beginning of the meeting. She told him:

“We’re hoping for no last minute shenanigans.  I’m hoping people will show up and the city will listen”. 

Here’s more from Edwards:

Before the vote I spoke with Matthew Warren who was handing out t-shirts for the pro vacation rental group, Share San Diego.  I asked what their plan would be if the resolution passed.  He said, “We’re considering all options.  Hopefully the city will recognize they’ve violated the Brown Act and City Charter”.  I asked if he was paid for his work and he said that he does PR for HomeAway.

Spoke with some pro resolution, anti Airbnb folks who had horror stories like one from Bay Park:

“We live next to a party house that often has 60 to 100 people partying until late at night.  Some of the renters are locals who can’t party in their own neighborhoods” (because they don’t want to upset their neighbors), “so they come to our neighborhood to party”.

Another said that Sea Breeze Vacation Rentals manages a party house/mini-hotel next to his house:

“It’s non-stop noise and partying.  When we ask them to quiet down, they tell us that they paid big money for the place and will do whatever they want.”

Poster displayed at the pro-resolution table outside City Hall.

Many of the pro-Airbnb crowd, wearing green shirts, when in front of the Council spoke of their personal tragedies and how only their vacation rental allows them to pay the mortgage, or health expenses, or support their family , or (fill in the blank).

A number of STVR leaders said they would be suing the City. Councilman Sherman, cheered by the pro-STVR people when he came in, actually urged people to do just that – to sue the City.

Nancy Kramer, the mobilizer of the green shirt group mentioned above who threatened the “firestorm of anger” and owns Nancy’s Vacation Rentals, with at least 6 vacation rentals in Mission Beach, told the press:

“I already filed one Brown Act violation for the last meeting and I’ll be filing another one tomorrow. I can’t believe they have such blatant disregard for the process of the citizens to be able to speak.”

But Kramer wasn’t really speaking for the citizens. The people she was speaking for had to fly in from out-of-town. Luckily for the real citizens, the Council majority held the line and voted to uphold the ordinance passed on July 16. All STVR owners have until July 1, 2019 to get their houses in order, so to speak.



San Diego Union Tribune



{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

ZZ August 2, 2018 at 1:23 pm

More reactionary behavior by rich coastal people who purchased in the 70s/80s, pay basically no property taxes as a result, and want to limit any technology and development, no matter how much harm they cause others.

Loud parties? Oh no they never happened before AirBNB, right?


Jon Carr August 2, 2018 at 1:46 pm

Or it could be residents (rich, poor, and in-between) fed up with the blatant violation of our zoning ordinances. Sure, it’s easy to scapegoat and call the people who live in these neighborhoods elitist nimbys. But that’s lazy thought and victim blaming. If you want to blame someone or some force, here’s a shortlist… blame the STVR platforms that threw a hand grenade of mini-hotels into our residential beach neighborhoods and ruined it for the few operators that were flying under the radar. Blame the realtors who were fully aware of the zoning laws in place and sold properties on the false pretense that they could be operated as hotels. Blame the banks for underwriting bad loans for commercial shirt-term rentals when they were not allowed in those areas. Blame the investors themselves for making bad decisions about where they wanted to set up an illegal and morally bankrupt shop. Yesterday’s hearing was a shameful display by the STVR owners. Their true disdain for the local community was on full display.


Comedy August 3, 2018 at 8:39 am

Take a deep breath and relax. It’s going to be ok.


kh August 3, 2018 at 10:32 am

85% of OB are long term renters that can’t afford to purchase, and they have been fighting Airbnb tooth and nail for years.

Maybe you should focus your anger on those out of town property hoarders who have to pimp out the community so they can hang onto their inherited family home.

Cry me a river. How about selling it to a new family? The reassessed taxes will help the city, and there will still be hosted legal Airbnbs waiting here for you when you want to fly out and visit.


Geoff Page August 2, 2018 at 2:42 pm

Excellent reply John Carr.

ZZ your comment is full of holes. People who bought houses in the 70s and 80s were not all rich coastal people. Back then, homes were affordable here because of the planes. That has changed. Anyone who pays property taxes on a home purchased then is paying what the law requires, no more or no less. Development doesn’t affect that until the house is sold. No crime there. Limit technology? What does that even mean? No, the people who live here wanted to live here and they want to protect the quality of life they came here for and you will find this same sentiment across the United States in hundreds of communities, it ain’t peculiar to Point Loma. And they – and we – have every right to do that. That is not causing “harm” to others.


ZZ August 5, 2018 at 1:49 pm

Geoff, I agree with you that old OB homeowners were not all rich in the 70’s and 80’s. Right now, however, the average OB single family house is worth about $900,000. So you all are all rich now. Not quite as rich as Doug Manchester, Paris Hilton, and the Marriotts, but completely in alignment with them.

I never said your actions were illegal either, just immoral. “Protect Quality of Life” you say, that’s what all reactionaries use as their excuse. Also, you kids with your Parties and your AirBNBs and Bird Scooters, GET OFF MY LAWN!!!!!.


Tom S August 2, 2018 at 3:19 pm

We are going to have a referendum and put this to a vote. Watch people in front of your local grocery store. That’s what I hear on the street.


Frank Gormlie August 3, 2018 at 1:08 pm

Fortunately for the rest of us, the out-of-towners won’t be voting.


Frank Gormlie August 3, 2018 at 1:08 pm

“on the street” or at the airport?


Tom S August 3, 2018 at 6:33 pm

OB Ragsters the Referendum is out on the street. So watch those pesky circulators Sunday or Monday. This is just the cost of doing business for these corporations. A successful signature campaign will stop this law until November 2020


Peter from South O August 4, 2018 at 5:18 am

Good luck at getting 85,000 signatures!


Peter from South O August 9, 2018 at 9:58 am

correction: 71,600. Good luck with that, too.


Jon Carr August 9, 2018 at 10:51 am

I’m sure they will target grocery stores and other locations outside of the coastal districts. Who gets to scrutinize the signatures they do collect? I bet the demographic data would prove very interesting. Insidiously attempting to change our zoning laws for their individual benefit by scaring people in unaffected districts into thinking property rights are somehow being infringed upon. The STVR operators have no shame.


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