Council President Sherri Lightner said the proposal recommends a “minor edit” to clarify the municipal code to encourage enforcement of current zoning provisions.
Short-term rentals, designated as “visitor accommodations,'' would be allowed in commercial zones and high-density residential areas, such as apartment complexes.
“This is not a ban on short-term vacation rentals citywide,'' Lightner said at a news conference. “We also want to make sure they stay in one of the many parts of our city zoned to accommodate visitors.''
Residents in coastal neighborhoods represented by Lightner and Councilwoman Lorie Zapf have complained for several years about a proliferation of properties that are rented for a few days at a time to vacationers. In some cases, large numbers of renters pile into a house and throw loud, late-night parties that disturb neighboring homeowners.
“I have literally heard from thousands of constituents who have contacted me regarding the impacts short-term vacation rentals are having on their lives,'' Zapf said. “These are people whose lives have been turned upside-down in their very neighborhoods, in the homes they purchased to raise their families.''
She said property-owners who rent out their houses are engaged in a “for-profit, commercial enterprise.''
Several previous hearings on the topic drew hundreds of attendees. The proposal will go before the City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at a special meeting that will be held at Golden Hall to accommodate another expected large crowd.
According to Lightner, land uses not actually spelled out in the municipal code are prohibited in the city. However, opponents said the increased use of private homes by vacationers wasn't anticipated by city officials, in the same way that marijuana dispensaries weren't envisioned before medical use was legalized.
Earlier this week, Councilmen Chris Cate and Scott Sherman, plus representatives of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and San Diego Taxpayers Association, called for a more balanced approach to regulating such properties.
If the proposal is approved, short-term vacation rentals would still be allowed in parts of popular tourist areas like downtown, the East Village, Hillcrest, Little Italy, Mission Valley, and parts of Mission Beach and Pacific Beach, according to Lightner.
“We believe the proposed minor edit strikes a reasonable, measured balance between continuing to allow short-term vacation rentals in zones that are designed to accommodate visitors while protecting the sanctity of our single-family neighborhoods,'' Lightner said.
She said the plan also facilitates city enforcement of code violators. The proposal would not impact home-sharing arrangements or owners who live on-site and rent out rooms in their homes, she said.
The meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, Golden Hall, 202 C St.
– City News Service