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.