Community Groups Launch Fight To Limit Short-Term Rentals In San Diego

The “It’s Time, San Diego” coalition including the SD Community Working Group on STVRs, made up of local civic and community groups, has come together to announce a quarter million dollar local ad campaign to elevate the voices of residents and neighborhoods that have been hurt by short-term rentals and to encourage the San Diego city council to pass strong short-term rental regulations.

 

The San Diego Community Short-Term Vacation (STVR) Rental Working Group, which includes the San Diego Coalition of Town Councils (Clairemont, La Jolla, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach, among others), Neighborhoods for Residents, University City Community Association, Pacific Beach Planning Group as well as the California Hotel & Lodging Association, with input from residents who have seen their neighborhoods torn apart by short-term rentals.

Ann Kerr Bache, president of the La Jolla Town Council and head of the San Diego Community STVR Working Group said other cities have stood up for their neighborhoods, and now calls on San Diego to do so too.

Chris Brewster, who served as a San Diego lifeguard chief for 13 years, who is featured in an ad for the coalition, says the rapid rise of commercial Airbnb investors gobbling up homes in San Diego is taking away housing options and raising housing costs for the city’s vital workforce including emergency responders, teachers and healthcare workers.

Apparently San Diego is one of the most short-term rental friendly markets in California:

 

He has seen Airbnb change the fabric of his community, including noise, trash and disturbances late at night and visitors with no respect for the working people in the neighborhood.

Both the San Diego Community Short-Term Vacation (STVR) Rental Working Group and the CHLA strongly believe that short-term rentals should be limited to Primary Residents only. Mohrfeld notes that the proposed plan includes several measures to rein in commercial short-term rental investors and operators.

While Kerr Bache likes some of the enforcement aspects of the mayor’s plan, her group is adamant that allowing people to rent out homes other than their own will decimate neighborhoods and communities.

Further it will negatively impact the availability of affordable rental housing, cause decrease in school enrollments and fundamentally change the character of SD neighborhoods. The provision for unlimited number of STVRs in Mission Beach, the set aside of minimum nights for Coastal and Downtown, unfairly excludes Clairemont and University City and other inland communities.

The Working Group developed a concise set of Recommendations for STVR Regulations, respecting the rights of STVR owners and platforms while giving neighbors tools to ensure Good Neighbor Policies and behaviors. A STVR Regulations Framework of dedicated funds for permitting, monitoring, enforcement and penalties for violators was presented to the Mayor earlier this year.

The STVR Working Group Membership, Recommendations and other documents can be found on the LJTC website.

As the final ordinance is developed, Mohrfeld and Bache both agree that the mayor and city council should focus on targeting any loopholes that commercial investors may exploit to continue their illegal hotel practices.

Housing affordability is obviously a very hot topic for San Diegans – and there is no question that investors buying properties for short-term rentals in San Diego has inflated housing prices and created less ‘neighborly’ neighborhoods.

it will be very interesting to see how this fight plays out.