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City Council Repeals Regulations On Vacation Rentals

October 23, 2018 1:51 p.m.

City Council Repeals Regulations On Vacation Rentals


Barbara Bry, council president pro tem, City of San Diego

Lori Weisberg, reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Related Story: City Council Repeals Regulations On Vacation Rentals


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

The San Diego City Council rescinds its new rules on short term rentals and a meeting at La Jolla elementary takes on the issue of suspect race descriptions. This is kape PBS midday edition.

I'm Maureen Cavanagh. It's Tuesday October 23. Our top story on Midday edition. San Diego's short term rental regulations turned out to be short term themselves. The package of regulations approved by the City Council this summer was rescinded on an 8 to 1 vote by council members on Monday. The regulations would have limited vacation rentals to primary residences only and for no more than six months a year. Airbnb and other home sharing sites conducted a successful petition drive to suspend the new law and put it to voters in the 2020 election. The city council instead decided to rescind the regulations and start over again. San Diego has struggled for years to enact laws regulating short term rentals which is a big business especially in the coastal areas of the city. City Council President Pro Tem Barbara Aubrey was instrumental in moving the new regulations forward.

But yesterday she voted to rescind and she told us why Air B and B which reportedly has a value of 31 billion dollars came to San Diego and spent over a million dollars collecting signatures to force the council to consider whether to rescind it or whether to put it on the 2020 ballot. And I made the decision to rescind because if we wait till 2020. First of all nothing happens in the interim. We're frozen. And second they're just going to spend millions of dollars using deceptive tactics which is what they did to collect the signatures. So it's my hope that first of all the mayor will enforce our existing law and our existing code is a de facto ban. And the mayor's office has been given a list of particularly problematic properties. And so my hope is he will enforce. And at the same time I'm willing to work with the community to develop a new measure that is substantially different next in a year after we passed the first measure were allowed to pass the same thing again. But for now we just need to pass something substantially different.

Do you have anything in your mind about what that might be. Is there any formulation in your mind about where that might go at this point.

I have a very open mind as to what a new ordinance could look like. And of course we will be getting legal advice as to whether a proposed measure is substantially different.

Council member Bri thank you. Thank you very much.

Joining me now is San Diego Union Tribune reporter Laurie Weisberg. Laurie welcome to the program. Thank you. Council president Bree says she wants mayor Faulkner to use the present laws which do not allow short term rentals to stop all the rentals. While the city council comes up with a new proposal is that a likely scenario.

I don't think so. And you also have some confusion over when we say the current law does not allow short term rentals to previous city attorneys said the law was vague enough that they couldn't conclude that our current city attorney Mark Allia last year said that she does believe that the municipal code does not allow short term Reynold's because there are nowhere to find in the code and some people in the city have glammed onto that opinion. Others have not. But the mare has never been willing nor I think the rest of the Council to enforce that. And so I think we're kind of in a very ambiguous period in fact during that council hearing yesterday Councilman David Alvarez once again asked for some clarity on that. The city attorney hasn't really revisited that opinion. I think she's taking her cue from the mayor's office but I just don't think he'll be hard. They don't have the funds to suddenly enforce that apparent law that would be requiring you to go after thousands of short term rentals and suddenly saying you're all illegal and you will have to shut down. I think for practical purposes I don't see it happening. So I think she and others are taking that tack. OK Muir's office then go after these real problem properties and she referred to about I think there are 10 of them that she referred over to the the mayor's office recently.

What part of the regulations the new regulations that were just rescinded what part of those were Airbnb the home sharing services most upset with.

Well it's clearly the issue of second homes and that's the it's been the issue in many other cities as well. Primary only does allow for home sharing. But the real issue is people that have a second a second home that they can't rent out now. And the question is and you posed it to council Embree is what can they do to make this substantially different and still muster with referendum law. And you would think the substantially different part would be to allow at least one second home rental and that was part of a proposal the mayor had offered up earlier the shares for the debate. And that was rejected by the council. So I'm curious to see if they revisit and use that as the template for making the new regulations quote substantially different from the from the previous ones.

I've been speaking with San Diego Union Tribune reporter Laurie Weisberg. Laurie thank you.

Thank you.