San Diego Planning Commission Likes Jen Campbell’s Plan for Short-Term Vacation Rentals

by on December 4, 2020 · 3 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

The San Diego Planning Commission liked Councilmember Jen Campbell’s plan for short-term vacation rentals so much that on Thursday, they unanimously endorsed it and even made it more friendly towards STVR hosts.

The Commission raised the percentage cap of short-term rentals of the city’s housing units. Campbell had proposed 0.75 percent threshold of the city’s more than 540,000 housing units to be STVRs. The Commission raised the cap to 1 percent. Both Campbell’s and the Commission’s versions allow a “carve-out” for Mission Beach.

Proponents of the plan say the new regulations “would slash” the number of vacation rentals by a whooping 50%! Aren’t we lucky.

Apparently, a lot of people raised objections to Campbell’s plan. Commissioner James Whelan was quoted in the San Diego Union-Tribune as saying, “We received well over 200 comments in writing, and most of them were not supportive of doing short-term vacation rental ordinances.”

If approved by the City Council, the ordinance would go into effect Jan. 1, 2022. But it’s’ not clear that the newly-refurbished City Council will just lay down for those who want to see vacation rentals everywhere. Five brand new members will be sworn in on December 10.

Besides the raised cap, there’s nothing new. But, briefly, here is what the new proposed regulations would do:

  • the number of homes that could be fully rented out for short-term stays of less than 30 days while the owner or resident is not present would be capped at about 6,500 citywide;
  • this includes a carve-out for close to 1,100 such rentals in Mission Beach.
  •  For all but the community of Mission Beach, the number of yearly vacation rentals that would be permitted would be capped at 1 percent of the city’s more than 540,000 housing units.
  • For Mission Beach, which has a long history of vacation rentals, the proportionate allowance would be much larger, representing 30 percent of the community’s total dwelling units.
  • Individuals would be limited to just one short-term rental license each as long as they had the right to occupy the dwelling unit being rented out;
  • a two-night minimum would be required of all guests for the rental of entire dwellings.
  • Licenses would be granted via a lottery,

This unanimous action by the Planning Commission – all mayoral appointees – is not all that surprising as it’s fairly known the Commission is developer-friendly and chummy with those who own STVRs – plus their mentor Mayor Faulconer also likes them.

This on-going, 5-year saga has continued without a consensus on regulations or enforcement. But then, in the middle of the pandemic, Campbell made an agreement with billion-dollar Expedia (who is pleased as punch with the Commission endorsement) and Unite Here Local 30, the hospitality workers’ union. Airbnb, the largest STVR company, wanted a higher cap at 1.2 per cent – and was not a party to the agreement.

And neither were the communities Jen Campbell is supposed to serve. They weren’t parties to the agreement nor were they consulted. Campbell was able to win the hearts (what’s left) and minds of the good folks who head up the Mission Beach Town Council. But that’s the extent of her “community support.”

From Lori Weisberg at the U-T:

Under the proposed regulations, the governance of short-term rentals would be guided by a tiered system that imposes no limits on those hosts who rent out a home for no more than 20 days out of the year. Similarly, there would be no limits for individuals who rent out a room or two in their home while they are residing there. The proposal also allows those owners or permanent residents to be absent from their units for up to 90 days in a year.

A large part of the proposed measure deals with enforcement, a vexing problem that has dogged the city for years and raised complaints from homeowners that the city has done little to crack down on problematic rentals with late-night noise and partying.

The measure outlines steps that would be taken for enforcing the new regulations, including the hiring of new code enforcement officers. Hosts who violate the regulations would be subject to fines and after three violations, a license could be revoked.

One Commissioner had an interesting idea: spread the STVR licenses out evenly across the nine city council districts. Commissioner Matthew Boomhower was critical of the lottery process. He said:

“There are certain neighborhoods in the city that are more popular for Airbnb hosts, and I want to make sure we are not inadvertently creating a situation where certain council districts that may be less economically affluent or less politically active will lose out on the ability to participate in this.

 “While I recognize that the lottery process is random by nature, I want to make sure that council has the ability to consider how we make sure we’re distributing the lottery chances equitably across all San Diegans and not allowing it to be gobbled up by folks who have the good fortune to own property in our beach neighborhoods.”

If STVR licenses were spread out evenly in every council district, that could take the burden off the beaches and coastal areas.

Of course, anyone who has looked at this problem, sees a big issue with how anything will be enforced, even with the addition of a handful of new code enforcement officers.

 

 

 

 

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Doug Blackwood December 5, 2020 at 2:45 pm

New City Council MEMBERS & MAYOR Gloria : NO NO NO!
Listen to us: we do not want VR’s! Maybe if the owner resides there; or recently built apartments?
We love our neighborhoods for residents!

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Avatar nostalgic December 7, 2020 at 10:58 am

Other cities can and do manage this problem. They permit the traditional B&B, with the owner in occupancy and the “spare” bedrooms or units rented out. We heard on the radio in Asheville, NC: “If you don’t stay there, they don’t stay there. If you don’t understand this message, call this number ,,,,, ” This enables and requires the property owner/resident to be responsible for what is going on where they live and/or own.

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Avatar kh December 8, 2020 at 1:19 am

1% per council district would actually result in a reduction of full time STRs in our district, with or without MB included. This would be an improvement over a 0.75% city-wide cap which would not be a reduction, despite what Campbell has claimed.

I’m sure the platforms know this and will probably push for a 1% citywide cap which is even worse. They do not want localized caps or distance requirements because it would require an actual concession on their part and they aren’t interested in compromise. They prefer the illusion of concessions that Campbell is pushing. .

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