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San Diego City Council To Discuss Short-Term Vacation Rental Regulations

The San Diego City Council meets, Dec. 5, 2016.
Susan Murphy
The San Diego City Council meets, Dec. 5, 2016.
San Diego City Council To Discuss Short-Term Vacation Rental Regulations
San Diego City Council To Discuss Short-Term Vacation Rental Regulations GUEST: Barbara Bry, councilwoman, city of San Diego

The San Diego city Council will not hold hearings on short-term vacation rental regulations until late Tober but councilmember Barbra Bry is holding a town hall tonight on the subject. There is so much interest in the topic that it is a standing room only event. She will discuss her latest proposal on short-term rentals, which among other things will ban homeowners from renting out homes for more than 90 days per year. Joining me is Barbra Bry. Welcome to the program. Thank you for writing me to talk about this important issue. Remind us if you would the city stands on short-term rentals now. Maria Elliott came out with an a printed -- opinion and the decision is in limbo. The city attorney, Mara Elliott issued an opinion that short-term vacation rentals are illegal. The mayor is waiting on the Council to take action before we and force. This meeting in October when my draft ordinance and other proposals are expected to come to the Council is very important. You released your suggestion regulations for B&B style rentals. First of all, how would it interest the issue of people renting out part of their houses ? Let me be clear. I am a high-tech entrepreneur. That is what I did before I ran for city Council. I am brace the sharing economy. This is started to allow you to rent out a room in your house or your sofa and I support that. I proposal would protect that on an unlimited basis. I understand this is an important option for tourist and it is also important for many San Diegans to make ends meet. Would you need a permit to do this ? Yes, you would need a city permit. It is easy to do and you can do it online but in my draft ordinance, this is a draft ordinance that is open to continual feedback. It would be $100 per year and a money could be used for enforcement. This is important to neighborhoods who the quality of life is being negatively impacted. We need to have 24 hour per day enforcement on the weekends when some of these rentals -- basically, what I am talking about is when whole houses are turned into many hotels and residential areas. Let's get to that. Your plan would allow people to read out homes but put a cap of 90 days per year on that. How did you come up with that figure? When I ran for city Council, I heard about short-term vacation rentals. I heard about it continually. It is one of the issues that we get the most complaints about at the city Council office. 90 days seemed like a compromise. It is 40 some people -- they say it is too much. That is 45 weekends per year but based on the residence that I talk to in my district and in other communities, it seems like a compromise so you could rent out your house on a short-term basis. Separately, if you went a way for the summer, you could rent your house for 90 days or 30 days to one person and not is not concerned -- considered a short-term rental. My draft ordinance, it is anything less than 30 days. One would imagine that to rent out your home under your plan, you would need a city permit ? Yes. You would need a permit. Why do you think frequent or long-term house renting should be regulated? What is the point of not allowing people to rent out entire homes for longer than 90 days per year? What I am concerned about most is investors buying single-family homes in residential neighborhoods and turning them into many hotels. When you buy a house any single-family neighborhood, you did not sign up to live next door to the Marriott. That is why we have zoning. I am also concerned about losing homes for permanent residence of San Diego. We know we are in the middle of a housing crisis. Every unit we take off the market and turn into a short-term rental is somewhere that a San Diegans cannot live. It is very expensive to produce new housing. Also, it is important to know that most of the rentals currently are in the urban core. If we take these homes and units out of the housing stock, we are going to have problems meeting the climate action plan goals. How would you monitor whether or not people are complying with the 90 day limit ? We are fortunate that technology has come to the rescue and there are companies now selling software which other cities are using that can monitor all of this. Also, the platforms can monitor how many days you are renting your unit since they are collecting the revenue from the customer and also hopefully the hotel tax. Chris Kate and Scott Sherman have come out against your proposal. They say it is too restrictive. What do you think your chance has of being approved by the city Council? I think there is a realization that has grown that we are in a housing crisis and we have to do as much as possible to preserve housing and that the short-term -- the permanent short-term many hotels in residential areas are destroying the character of our neighborhoods. We have zoning. We have to live by the proper zoning. I am hopeful that we will be able to reach a consensus when this does come before the full council. As I said. My ordinance is a draft. I am open to feedback. When this comes before the city Council, they will be looking at I believe three suggestions that the committee came up with for a possible regulation for the short-term rentals. Would you support any of those regulations? Quit they somehow more with this regulation plan that you have come up with ? That is a good question. The reason we drafted our own ordinances because none of those met the needs of the residents of our communities. That is why we drafted our own and we are working closely with city staff who has been very cooperative in terms of having my proposal also presented. You have been talking about mounting interest in this particular subject. There has been six hearings in the last two years. I know you were elected for most of that but is there any indication that we will come to a final resolution in October ? I am hopeful we will reach a final resolution. The issue has only increased in size. There are many more short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods in the last two years. The number is only going to continue to increase. There is a will that in October, we the city Council need to come to a consensus on how to move forward to protect our neighborhoods and to protect housing for San Diegans. I have been speaking with Barbra Bry. The town hall is already booked for standing room only is at the La Jolla community center at 6:00 tonight. Thank you.

The latest attempt to regulate short-term vacation rental properties in San Diego will be the topic of a town hall meeting Wednesday.

San Diego City Councilwoman Barbara Bry will seek public input on her recently proposed package of rules for such properties, which provide owners with additional income, tourists with more lodging options and, often, headaches for neighbors.

RELATED: San Diego Home Prices Up 7.1 Percent From June Last Year

Bry's district — Carmel Valley, La Jolla and University City — is one of the most affected by the practice since visitors generally want to stay near beaches. Her proposal would allow short-term rentals in owner-occupied residences, but not in houses with absentee owners.

Beach neighborhood residents have complained for years that short-term rental properties create noise, parking and trash problems. Several previous proposals have failed to gain traction in the city council, including one last year by Bry's predecessor, Sherri Lightner, to ban the rentals in residential areas.

Among the provisions in Bry's proposal are the following:

–Homeowners who want to rent would have to apply to the city for a permit.

–Rentals when the primary occupant is absent would be limited to 90 days a year.

–The number of renters would be limited to two per guest room plus one other visitor per residence.

–The primary occupant would be required to provide written notice reminding renters they are in a residential neighborhood and should conduct themselves accordingly, and giving information about parking rules and trash pickups.

Homeowners would not be allowed to advertise a business on their premises.

City Attorney Mara Elliott has issued an opinion that short-term vacation rentals are illegal in San Diego under current regulations, but she's been waiting for City Council direction before beginning enforcement.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the La Jolla Community Center, 6811 La Jolla Blvd.