City Council takes on vacation rentals - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

City Council takes on vacation rentals

Posted: Updated:
SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The City Council's Smart Growth and Land Use Committee Friday unanimously requested the mayor's office to increase funding in the upcoming fiscal year to enforce noise, overcrowding and refuse regulations that often are violated by occupants of short-term rental units in San Diego.

The committee members, wrapping up a hearing that covered parts of two days, also asked staff to develop a land-use ordinance that would create specific regulations for vacation rental properties, which have proliferated in the beach areas and other sections of town.

Committee Chairwoman Lorie Zapf, who represents areas such as Mission Beach and Pacific Beach, said she repeatedly has heard from constituents worried about how the rental properties impact their neighborhoods.

"They were specifically concerned about the vacation rental units changing the fabric of the single-family residential zones, where the impacts of noise, parking, and frequency of guests are most noticeable," Zapf said.

Councilman David Alvarez apologized to the large crowd that attended the hearing in a meeting room above Golden Hall.

"We have really been failing our neighborhoods because we have not enforced laws that are on the books today," Alvarez said.

While funding for extra code enforcement could go on the books for the fiscal year beginning July 1, it could take up to two years for a more comprehensive law to take effect.

An ordinance drafted by staff would need vetting by community groups and the Planning Commission before it returns to the committee and, eventually, the full City Council.

If eventually approved, the regulations would still have to pass muster at the California Coastal Commission before they take effect in beach areas.

In developing the regulations, staff will have to distinguish between residences that are occupied by owners and those who aren't, take into account residents who are simply renting out a room, determine whether to establish a minimum number of days that renters can stay, and whether to set a cap on how many people can occupy a dwelling used as a vacation rental.

The committee members stressed that the rules would target what they called "bad actors," while trying to avoid hurting rental property owners who are not causing problems.

Amanda Lee, of the city's Development Services Department, said the city code does not include a specific land use category for vacation rental properties.

Many residents, especially in the beach areas, contend their quality of life is suffering because of increased noise from heavy partying and overcrowding. Owners, however, said they've had few problems with their guests, and need extra income to keep up with high housing costs.

Vacation rentals have become more popular in recent years in the face of sky-high hotel room rates, and they provide extra amenities such as full-service kitchens that can come in handy for families or travelers who plan to stay for more than a couple of days.

They also are part of what some experts call the "sharing economy," which additionally features easy, Internet-based bicycle and electric vehicle rentals.

Property owners are required to obtain a registration certificate to pay a monthly room tax, and pay a rental unit business fee annually.

About 2,700 vacation rentals are registered with the city.

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.