Council members Zapf, Bry present their short-term vacation rental proposal
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 09/25/17 - 02:40 PM | 4415 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A new “coastal” proposal to curb short-term vacation rental proliferation, in lieu of a less-restrictive counterproposal by inland City Council members, was vetted at a Sept. 20 Pacific Beach Town Council meeting.

District 2 Councilmember Lorie Zapf told residents she was joining with District 1 Councilmember Barbara Bry of La Jolla, to present a compromise STVR plan. Zapf said that plan would help eliminate mini hotels in single-family neighborhoods. She also said their proposal will preserve property owner's rights to supplement their income with short-term rentals, as long as they reside at the address and are not absentee owners.

The Bry-Zapf plan follows another proposal for regulating short-term rentals by Council members David Alvarez, Mark Kersey, Scott Sherman and Chris Ward. That proposal would require three-night minimum stays, as well as set up a permitting and enforcement system for STVRs, in addition to providing renters with a code of conduct covering noise, trash and parking issues.

The City Council is scheduled to consider the two competing short-term rental proposals on Monday, Oct. 23.

Hillary Nemchik, Bry's communications director, presented the broad outlines of the Bry-Zapf plan.

“Bry's proposed regulations for short-term rentals preserves our housing stock and laws while allowing property owners to supplement their income,” said Nemchik. “It's a workable compromise. Bry wants to enforce current laws prohibiting STVRs in residential zones.”

Nemchik said the Bry-Zapf proposal would require STVRs to be less than 30 days. She added it would preserve property owner's ability to homeshare, renting out a room in their home. She added new proposed home-sharing regulations would prevent outside interests from coming in to residential neighborhoods, buying property there, then turning it into what essential becomes a “mini hotel.”

City Attorney Mara Elliott, who has taken the stand that short-term rentals are illegal in residential areas under the city's existing municipal code, also spoke about her stance.

Characterizing STVRs and a “hot-button issue,” Elliott said, “There are no laws on the books in the city allowing short-term rentals in residential zones. If it's not addressed in the (building) codes — it's not legal. That is the position I came out with.”

Of the two most-recent STVR proposals being forwarded, Elliott commented, “I feel like we're getting somewhere.”

Zapf was strident in her commitment to resolving the STVR issue once and for all.

“You and I have property rights in a single-family zone,” Zapf said. “The goal of the city is to protect the integrity of the neighborhoods. It's our obligation to protect neighborhood quality, character and livability.”

Arguing out-of-town investors are “coming in and buying up whole homes and renting them out,” that Zapf noted results in “opening up a hotel right in the middle of our neighborhoods. They're disrupting our lives.”

In November 2016, the City Council voted 7-2 to reject a proposal by then-council President Sherri Lightner that would have prohibited short-term vacation rentals in neighborhoods zoned for single-family homes. Zapf was Lightner's only colleague to support her plan.
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