Short-term rentals joined two other hot-button issues — electric scooters and airport noise — on MBTC’s Sept. 12 agenda.
Mission Beach has the highest number of short-term rentals – upwards of 40 percent – along the beachfront.
In July, the City Council nixed Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s less-restrictive short-term vacation rental proposal in favor of stricter regulations allowing primary-residence-only rentals with a six-month maximum.
A “carve-out” of Mission Beach exempting the community from new rental regulations in the mayor’s proposal was also defeated. Existing Mission Beach rentals will not be grandfathered into the City’s new ordinance, scheduled to take effect in July 2019.
“This isn’t a Mission Beach issue – it’s a citywide issue,” said MBTC president Gary Wonacott.
“Mission Beach forever has had a huge percentage of short-term vacation rentals,” answered one audience member, who added: “People come here from everywhere to go to the beach. I don’t see where the crisis is.”
Another rental owner noted that, previous to the huge growth in short-term vacation rentals, college students and fraternities had predominated in Mission Beach seasonal summer rentals. He claimed short-term vacation rentals and families were “a better quality of tenant with less drunken college kids replaced by families and toddlers with fewer cars.”
Some audience members charged MBTC board with being partial toward sterner short-term rental regulations, arguing the board “ought to be more open minded and listen to all the stakeholders.”
“You’re not going to solve the problem in a forum like this,” contended Bob Semonsen from the audience. “I think what we need to do is have a workshop between vacation-rental advocates, and those wanting stricter limitations, and work through this. We need them to come together.”
But Semonsen warned, “Each side has to bring realistic expectations.”
Following the Sept. 12 meeting, Wonacott said the vacation-rental industry is “in denial that long-term rent is financially advantageous compared to short-term rent for many of the units in MB on the courts.”
He added: “There are almost as many short-term owners who are deactivating their listings as adding to the list. Summer-winter rentals are not possible under the new regulations, but are the best option, from a financial standpoint, and result in the highest year-round occupancy.”
Concerning motorized scooters, MBTC secretary Matt Gardner reported progress is being made in a dialogue between the City, and beach areas, on how to properly regulate them.
Noting scooters “have been unleashed on this city with no controls,” Gardner pointed out, “There are no problems with people using them correctly. The problem is, the other 98 percent of people using them, are not using them correctly.”
A couple of Mission Beach residents testified they’ve almost been run over by scooters arguing, “They’re going way too fast and are almost impossible to control.”
One audience member decried that there is a state bill in process that would eliminate the requirement for adult scooter riders to wear helmets.
A petition was passed out at the MBTC meeting requesting the City to, “Declare a moratorium on ride sharing motor scooters until such time as a pilot program is established that ensures education, compliance and enforcement of scooters.”
Wonacott gave a brief presentation noting, airport noise is “an ongoing issue that’s substantially impacting Mission Beach, especially South Mission Beach.”
“There aren’t enough noise complaints coming from Mission Beach,” argued Wonacott. “We need to start doing more of this. We also need to get the waypoint (geographic navigational points) for planes moved a few miles south in the ocean that will give us relief in Mission Beach.”