Short-term rental proposal upsets residents in Pacific Beach
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 04/09/15 - 11:14 AM | 4 4 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Looking toward an April 22 City Council committee meeting on the issue, the dialogue on the need to rein in short-term vacation rentals (STVRs) in Pacific Beach is continuing, with the general consensus being that Councilwoman Lorie Zapf’s proposal recommending permitting, without addressing the STVRs that are located in single-family zones, may not be sufficient.

“My office has studied comparable cities such as Encinitas, Portland and San Luis Obispo that currently have regulations on short-term vacation rentals,” said Zapf in a memo. “We found that each city managed short-term vacation rentals in a variety of different ways but with some commonalities. All cities required some type of permit.”

Zapf said she and her staff have worked closely with community stakeholders representing both homeowners and vacation rental hosts to “identify a solution that protects the community fabric in single-family residential zones and supports small businesses that are currently in compliance.”

In her memo, Zapf recommends that city staff revise language in the current municipal code to meet the following goals:

n Define the term “short-term vacation rental” in the municipal code;

n Require a renewable permit for the operation of any short-term vacation rental citywide;

n Determine permit fees that are cost recoverable and will be used toward the management and enforcement of the permit;

n Require a posted 24/7 contact with a name and phone number on the property as part of the permit;

n Institute an enforcement process that includes fines and revocation of permit for repeat violators; identify additional funding for the Community-Assisted Party Program (CAPP) to respond to citizen complaints; and

n Require tourist occupancy tax (TOT) collection and payment from short-term vacation rental hosts.

Chris Olson, a longtime member of the Pacific Beach Planning Group, said he “respectfully goes against” Zapf’s proposal.

“I generally agree with her approach to implement a permit system,” Olson said. “But she is completely ignoring the primary issue, destruction of the neighborhood fabric. In coastal communities, long-term residents are being displaced by property management companies renting to weekly tourists all year long.”

Olson said his “neighbors are leaving,” pointing out, within a block of his home, that there are six homes that have recently converted to STVRs.

“They were (once) part of the fabric that held our community together and were displaced for one reason: There is a financial incentive to convert properties to STVRs,” he said, adding, “ $500 a night is cheap if you have 12 to 15 people.”

The STVR policy, said Olson, must address the trend of converting coastal neighborhoods from residential to visitor-commercial.

“Zapf’s proposal does nothing to limit the spread of this displacement,” Olson said. “Soon there will be nobody to volunteer on the PB Planning Group or town council, no kids in our schools, nobody to clean up graffiti or pick up trash and no eyes on the street to assist the police.

“If our leaders allow STVRs to continue proliferating, they better make sure to direct the STVR transient occupancy tax for more police, more trash pick-up, more code enforcement and plan for higher water use and other infrastructure needs to support the change in land use.”

Olson’s sentiment was being echoed by others in the community sharing their views on Nextdoor.com.

Nicole Larson, of Riviera Sail Bay, said the proposed solution for STVRs is to … “make 'em get a permit and post a phone number that will never be answered. Beach communities will turn into vacation rentals.”

“This memo/proposal does not address our issues with vacation rentals; it just talks about noise and permitting, not about the destruction of neighborhoods,” said Scott Gruby of Clairemont, a spokesman for a new grass-roots group, SaveSanDiegoNeighborhoods.org, founded by residents from PB, Clairemont and La Jolla. “The (Zapf) memo mentions ‘quality of life,’ but has no solution to living next to a mini-hotel.”

James Hemmick of south east central PB, offered a counter-perspective on STVRs.

“There is a small but vocal minority group of residents that wants the government to tell you what you can and can't do with your property,” he said. “They have an issue with STVRs and think that because of the problems caused by a few irresponsible owners, all responsible property owners should be banned from renting their homes out as they see fit and in compliance with the ordinances already in effect.

“We are inundated with more and more laws and ever increasing stifling regulations. There is nothing that we need less than more government intrusion. Join me and other responsible, property-rights loving residents in voicing our opposition to banning/stifling STVRs in our amazing community,” Hemmick wrote.

Comments
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Ddiandfbs
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April 12, 2015
Unfortunately the people who say we have too many laws are the ones who do not follow the rules in place.

Where the heck is 'south east central Pacific Beach'? Never heard of it.
bbinpb
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April 10, 2015
It's not surprising that Lorie Zapf is siding with the property management companies and absentee landlords. When it comes to choosing between special business interests and local residents, Zapf is going to choose the special interests. They're "entrepreneurs" after all, not to mention "job creators." If they ruin residential neighborhoods in the pursuit of their entrepreneurial endeavors, well that's the price of progress.

Of course, if short term rentals were a problem in Zapf's Bay Park neighborhood, the response might be a little different. Zapf was ready to man the barricades to keep a few apartments out of the immediate vicinity of the proposed trolley stops in Bay Park after homeowners in that area complained. But when Kilroy, a large LA real estate company, asked the City Council to triple the allowed density at Paseo Del Sol in Carmel Valley, Zapf was fully on board. She supported this project despite strong neighborhood opposition and a huge projected traffic impact in an area with no public transportation.

I'm wondering whether the single family homeowners who supported Zapf in the June primary because they thought she would be tough on the public employee unions will begin to regret their support.
PBOly
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April 09, 2015
The Government is elected by people who live in our neighborhoods. But when the residents are displaced by short-term vacation rentals then there will no longer be voters in these displaced communities and these areas will no longer be represented.
worm1
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April 10, 2015
Look at how Mission Beach was ruined by weekly rentals. Now Zapf wants to make it worse by allowing two day rentals. There is a reason why most people rent at the beach for two days. Party.

It is too bad somebody doesn't buy a house next to her and do short time rental. Capp program doesn't work. Show up at Mission Beach Town Counci and hear all the complaining about noise.

There needs to be separate rules for renting out a room when the owner stays in the house and just renting out a house without the owner around.

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