In a 9-2 vote, town council promised to do what it can to promote Save San Diego Neighborhoods' agenda on the matter.
Audience members asked questions of Jonah Mechanic, spokesperson for San Diego Vacation Rental Managers Alliance, but they appeared not to accept his answers. At one point, some in the audience suggested that the alliance had donated funds to political entities to ensure the rentals' approval. Mechanic denied the allegation.
Meanwhile, town council president Steven Haskins commented that the conversation had gotten “out of hand.”
Mechanic said that if short-term vacation rentals are banned by the city, the practice most certainly will go underground as people attempt to skirt hotel fees.
“Coronado banned vacation rentals,” he said, “and today, there are 416 rentals currently listed. Palm Springs and Carlsbad have revoked their bans after they noticed that rentals go underground,” he noted.
Ronan Gray, president of Save San Diego Neighborhoods, was pleased with the vote, noting that the San Diego municipal code doesn’t allow vacation rentals in residential neighborhoods.
“Vacation rentals,” Gray said, “are driving up the cost of rent and cost of housing. You can make a lot more by renting a house per night that you can renting it per month. (A news outlet) interviewed one San Diegan, who has 14 homes, which he converted to short-term rentals. He estimated he makes half a million a year now,” Gray said.
Haskins said La Jolla has had a lot of trouble with allegedly irresponsible visitors and additional crime due to short-term vacation rentals.
“Obviously,” he said, “most of the visitors are good and law abiding and don’t cause trouble. But there seem to be a problem of basically creating hotels in what are supposed to be single-family neighborhoods.”