City's CPC votes against short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 10/08/15 - 05:37 PM | 5653 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The CPC recently voted overwhelmingly to support the contention that the city’s municipal code already prohibits STVR’s in single-family zones. / Photo by Thomas Melville
The CPC recently voted overwhelmingly to support the contention that the city’s municipal code already prohibits STVR’s in single-family zones. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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Local leaders on both sides of the short-term vacation rental (STVR) debate are weighing in on a recent decision by the city’s Community Planners Committee (CPC) to reject a city proposal to allow rentals to operate, with greater restrictions, in San Diego residential neighborhoods.

The CPC is an umbrella organization representing more than 40 community planning groups that make land-use recommendations to the city.

The CPC recently voted overwhelmingly to support the contention that the city’s municipal code already prohibits STVR’s in single-family zones.

"The CPC supports hosted home sharing in concept,” noted Brian Curry, Pacific Beach Planning Group chair.

Curry pointed out CPC determined that whole-house rentals for less than 30 days are considered visitor accommodations.

“We are happy with the CPC vote, which was to be open to regulated ‘hosted’ short-term vacation rentals, but not whole-house vacation rentals for less than 30 days,” Curry said. “The CPC insists the current municipal code is clear that vacation rentals are transient occupancy visitor accommodations, which are a prohibited use in residential zones.

“The latest ordinance revision proposal by the city's Development Services Department, which answers directly to the mayor, is unacceptable,” Curry continued. “It would allow free reign for short-term vacation rentals (both hosted and whole house) in all residential zones. This misguided policy would legitimize having commercial hospitality uses in all residential neighborhoods.

“Apparently, the city envisions the benefit of transient occupancy taxes to outweigh the considerable negative impacts to residents. Hopefully, the city will listen to the CPC and residents and revisit their STVR policy,” Curry said.

Longtime PB resident and activist Marcie Beckett concurred that the CPC’s recommendation on STVRs are a step in the right direction.

“The CPC recognizes that whole-house STVRs damage communities by displacing long-term residents and by diminishing housing supply,” Beckett said. "They want the city to do its job to protect our residential neighborhoods for the citizens who want to live in San Diego.”

STVR industry spokesman Jonah Mechanic has defended the proponents’ position that “STVRs bring many tangible benefits to homeowners, residents, travelers, neighborhoods and local businesses as well as economic health to cities in which they are allowed to thrive.”

“Recent studies have shown that visitors who stay in STVR accommodations spend more on local businesses and are more likely to be return guests to the market as a result of their experience,” Mechanic said.

“These guests distribute the economic benefits of tourism to neighborhoods that would not otherwise receive them, allowing for opportunities of growth and revitalization at a truly local level. More money spent outside of traditional tourist neighborhoods strengthens communities and businesses, a benefit to all residents.”

Mechanic added that “community members who rent on a short-term basis often rely on it to supplement their income. The financial security this provides to homeowners plays an important role in neighborhood resilience.”

Ronan Gray, president and spokesman for Save San Diego Neighborhoods, a group opposed to STVRs in residential zones, was also pleased by the CPC’s recommendations.

“This is a big step forward for San Diego residents in communities all across the city and county who have been asking the City Council to simply enforce the existing municipal code, which clearly does not allow these commercial operations in residential zones” said Gray. “CPC recommends that the city uphold and enforce its existing municipal code.

“The committee also recommended changes be made to the municipal code section regarding boarder and lodger accommodations, which would allow home sharing where the homeowner is present on site during the visitor stays with some restrictions on the minimum length of stay and maximum number of lodgers allowed.”

CPC chair Joe LaCava noted the STVR process “is being fast-tracked as everyone agrees that clarity in the regulations is to everyone’s benefit."

Moving forward, LaCava said the CPC recommendation will be bundled with recommendations from the Technical Advisory Committee and the Code Monitoring Team for Planning Commission consideration in late October. From there, LaCava said the issue will be forwarded to the City Council.

“This will not be going back to Smart Growth & Land Use Committee,” LaCava said, adding, “We could have final action on new language by early November. Of course, the new regulations would not apply in the coastal area until they are ratified by the Coastal Commission.”

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