Pro short-term vacation rental group’s measure qualifies for ballot referendum
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 10/04/18 - 01:13 PM | 2410 views | 0 0 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Less than three months since the City Council voted 6-3 for a more-restrictive short-term vacation rental ordinance, a vacation-rental coalition has turned in nearly double (62,000) the number of valid signatures required to put the measure on a future ballot.

On July 16, the City Council’s nine members, with Scott Sherman, Chris Cate and David Alvarez dissenting, passed a short-term rental ordinance favoring residents and allowing primary-residence-only rentals with a six-month maximum.

Calling that a “de facto ban,” a coalition comprised of home-sharing platforms Airbnb and HomeAway, as well as local vacation-rental hosts, embarked on a controversial signature-gathering campaign to overturn the council vote. 

Council members Barbara Bry, Lorie Zapf and supporters of the new tougher rental ordinance, attacked the opposition’s referendum drive alleging it used “deceptive tactics.” 

Now that the referendum is a go, the City Council faces a tough choice: Put the measure on a future ballot in 2020, or possibly early next year in a special election, or rescind its new ordinance, which would have taken effect in July 2019.

Pointing out its up to the City Council to place short-term rentals on the ballot or rescind, Share San Diego, Airbnb and HomeAway said: “When voters have a say, short-term rentals win. More than 62,000 San Diegans signed the petition to stop the de-facto ban on short-term rentals because they agree there is a better solution than the onerous law that was passed.

“Short-term rentals are an important property right that help owners, managers and hosts earn valuable extra income, contribute needed tax revenue to the City’s budget, and have long been part of the fabric of San Diego. We believe there’s a better way and look forward to a resolution. whether it be by the City or the voters.”

The short-term rental industry claims a national poll shows 66 percent of those polled feel second homes should be allowed to be rented short-term. The industry also contends short-term rentals generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for the City while providing more than 3,000 jobs citywide.

But not everyone is pleased by the most recent turn of events. Mission Beach resident Teri Youngs, who lives on a court surrounded by short-term rentals, claims their proliferation is destroying the community.

“The last several years have become a nightmare here in MB, with at least 40 percent or more of the homes converted into short-term vacation rentals,” said Youngs. “The majority of the homes are bought by investors and managed by companies that specialize in ‘beach rentals.’”

Youngs doesn’t favor a short-term rental ban.

“We need a balance … and there needs to be some regulations,” she said, contending next-door rentals are a recurring problem, and that local vacation-rental owners are largely unresponsive to complaints.

“There needs to be phone numbers posted on every rental that we can call and they will be there with an answer, or down here in an hour,” Youngs said, adding she and her neighbors are anxious about not knowing who their next inconsiderate short-term tenants are going to be.

“There needs to be accountability,” Youngs said. “You can’t be in the middle of a neighborhood blasting your music at night, having parties or talking loudly, next to people who have to go to work or school the next day.” Youngs said it’s “scary” to be a local resident and to be forced to directly confront next-door vacationeers. 

That, Youngs said, is what vacation-rental owners should be doing, and why new tougher enforcement regulations are absolutely necessary.

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