Recently at a special community hearing following a series of committee meetings on the subject, PBPG voted in favor of requiring permits with conditions for all STVRs, creating a minimum 30-day rental duration in single-family zones and providing enhanced enforcement of noise complaints.
“Every week for the last eight years I have been subjected to a variety of short-stay renters, anywhere from one night to five nights, who party, have loud music, leave their lights on facing my house all night long, have fights, screaming babies, barking unattended dogs, loud fraternity-type parties with large amounts of alcohol, etc.,” said Eva Skinner, who lives in a single-family zoned area on Oliver Avenue.
“I have asked my neighbor if he can ask the renters to be quiet … After one complaint my neighbor said, ‘Well, the house is on the market and I hope when it sells you have a new buyer who is worse for you and hopefully your situation will be more painful.’”
Melanie Menders, who said she lives within one block of nine STVRs in an RS-zoned neighborhood in PB, said she’s had a “uniformly negative” experience with them.
“We bought a home in this residential area with the expectation of a quiet and stable neighborhood where we could raise our son, know our neighbors and get up early and go to work each day (we are not on vacation) … Our neighborhood met our expectations until properties by us started turning into vacation rentals.
“I’m tired of these properties being rented for $3,000-$5,000 per week to large numbers of unrelated adults,” added Menders. “They party as hard as they can: Loud music, lots of alcohol, beer pong, yelling and fighting inside the house and in the front and backyards at all hours throughout the week.
“The cops are too busy to respond, and the owners/property managers, if you can figure out who they are and how to contact them, are often unresponsive. Vacation rentals are incompatible with RS zones.”
According to research from Pacific Beach resident Marcie Beckett, there has been a 646 percent increase from 2007 to 2015 of vacation rental houses in single-family zones in PB.
She writes that in a comparison of 2007 to 2015 searches of VRBO.com for vacation rentals in Pacific Beach, the number of vacation rental by owner (VRBO) vacation rentals in PB went from 63 in June 2007 to 325 in February 2015; and the number of VRBO vacation rental houses in PB went from 15 in June 2007 to 112 in February 2015.
“The rapid proliferation observed in vrbo.com vacation rentals is probably also occurring in overall vacation rentals in Pacific Beach,” Beckett added.
“We have had many negative experiences due to the vacation rental next door to our house,” said Kathy Miller Gray, a chiropractor with an office on Lamont Street.
“We have experienced constant noise through the day and night, loud music, profane language, excessive trash and cigarette and pot smoke blowing into our yard. We have to keep our three children out of our backyard in many instances to avoid the rude vacation renters.”
Miller Gray said one vacation renter went so far as to urinate in the front yard in the middle of the day, and when her neighbor confronted him, he said “F__ you, you old hag.”
“Clearly vacation rentals do not belong in single-family zones,” Miller Gray said.
Phil Sokol, who has lived on Reed Avenue for 17 years, said a nearby neighbor left town last spring and turned his home into a vacation rental with “disastrous results.”
“All throughout the spring, summer and much of the fall, a rotating group of up to 10 (or more) people were at the house every week, sometimes for the full week, but often for only a few days,” Sokol said. Pool parties would turn into afternoon/evening barbecues and would then go on late into the night or more accurately into the morning. “Over the course of just this one season, I personally had to call the police on eight separate occasions — and I was gone most of July.”
Sokol added the property’s "managers" did not provide any assistance. “Calls, texts, and messages would go unanswered or would only elicit a half-hearted ‘sorry’ (via text message) the following day,” he said.
“There was no supervision or accountability at all,” continued Sokol. “The police were no help. In fact, I had several 2 a.m. discussions with dispatchers about the lack of resources available to deal with this problem. Noise complaints have a low priority, and even with multiple calls, it would sometimes be hours before the police would respond, if they responded at all.”
Police have said repeatedly they presently are seriously understaffed and that they respond to calls of noise and similar complaints at neighborhood homes as quickly as possible but that those calls are low priority, which means it takes extra time to respond to them, especially during busy summertimes.
“If we want to save our neighborhoods and our quality of life, we have to sacrifice our time to attend public meetings and speak out on the issue,” posted Marcella Teran on Nextdoor.com.
Committee meeting on vacation rentals
At 9 a.m. on April 22 the issue of short-term vacation rentals will go before the Smart Growth and Land Use Committee of the City Council. It will be held in the committee room on the 12th floor at 202 C St. around the corner from City Council Chambers.