Well, too bad for the Democratic majority in San Diego City Council – 8 to 1 for Campbell’s STVR plan
Well, too bad for the Democratic majority in city council.
Yesterday, Tuesday February 23, after hours of “public” testimony, Council voted 8-1 to approve Jen Campbell’s proposal on short-term vacation rentals. Council member Joe LaCava – representing District 1, the other coastal district – was the dissenting vote. The rest of the Democrats voted with the Republican to approve the ordinance – which will require a second vote in October before it becomes law in 2022. The ordinance will return to the board for updates on the lottery and licensing prioritization.
LaCava proposed four amendments that would have been much stricter than the version that was adopted. None were accepted. He was concerned about fairness in the ordinance and how to hold rental platforms accountable. According to the tag, LaCava said:
“I remain steadfast that we should enforce the City’s municipal code which prohibits short-term rentals. However, the Wild West with rentals still plagues our city. The current situation is no longer tenable.
Three other board members shared LaCava’s concerns – Monica Montgomery Steppe, Marni von Wilpert and Sean Elo Rivera – but voted to pass the ordinance with the intention of refining it later. District 4 board member Monica Montgomery-Steppe said:
“It’s a struggle of several years. I agree, we need regulations. My concerns are with the estimated costs and the application of the STR platform liability. “
City Councilor Raul Campillo successfully amended the ordinance to prioritize “good actors” when licensing begins later this year.
District 8 council member Vivian Moreno said:
“We all know that short-term rentals are a major component of tourism. Given the demand for short-term rentals, it makes sense to regulate them. This order before us is reasonable, and worth a try.
Andrea Schlageter, chair of the Ocean Beach Planning Board, was not happy with the decision. Lighthouse the city :
“All this language about ‘compromise’ and that it’s a good compromise because no one is happy is misleading. Public policy is not about compromise. Good public policy is about protecting the average person while fighting for justice and encouraging good behavior. “
“Politics is about compromise and doesn’t care about the opinions of ordinary people. Politics is what got us this ordinance. Politics is the reason why no community group has been brought in to negotiate directly with Airbnb. It’s a shame that a majority of the city council does not devote itself to good public policy, just to politics.
Another opponent, Gary Wonacott of Mission Beach, was also quoted:
“Mission Beach is the last beach community that should be carved out. There are approximately 2,600 parking spaces near Mission Beach used by day visitors, with the exception of those occupied by short-term renters who regularly bring multiple vehicles during the summer months. And Mission Beach is the least affordable with a rate of $ 383 per night (according to Airbnb) compared to Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach at $ 242 and $ 197 per night. Quarrels between short-term tenants and residents are all too common in Mission Beach with a density of 1,972 short-term rentals per square mile versus 206 and 323 STR per square mile in PB and OB.
“This is the very definition of overtourism. There is a very small minority of investors and short-term rental management companies pushing for what is some of San Diego’s most lucrative financial services. The exclusion is unfair and inequitable, and likely faces a much more onerous challenge at the California Coastal Commission. “
According to Times of San Diego / City News Service:
The ordinance classifies short-term rentals into four categories: part-time rentals rented 20 days a year; shared rentals; rental of entire houses; and entire home rentals in Mission Beach. The latter two are subject to the strictest restrictions in the ordinance.
Highlights of the ordinance include:
- Cap short-term rentals of whole homes at 1% of the city’s housing stock according to the San Diego Planning Commission, which currently equates to 5,400.
- Reduced short-term rentals for the whole house based on the City Auditor’s estimate that over 14,700 short-term rentals exist, including 1,667 in Mission Beach.
- Do not limit short-term rentals in shared accommodation.
- Allow short-term, part-time rental operators to license at a lower annual fee to host high-traffic events.
- Annual evaluation of the program to determine if it is fair and effective.
- Require that a local contact be able to respond to disturbances on the property in an hour or less.
- Allow short-term rental owners a maximum of one permit, per person.
- Creation of a detailed good neighbor policy with strict enforcement guidelines, a fine structure for violations and a standard for license revocation.
Jen Campbell – the architect of the so-called compromise between landlords and corporate rental services such as VRBO and AirBnB and Unite Here Local 30 – was also the winner. She continues to claim that her new ordinance will reduce the volume of short-term rentals throughout the house, but at the same time, no one can agree on the number of STVRs in San Diego. However, even his supporters questioned his condition that a future lottery be held to select whole-house STR operators. Rather, they argued that operators with the cleanest records are given first priority for entire home rental licenses.
However, it remains to be seen how this vote affects Campbell’s status in his own district. District 2 has arguably been the most affected by the STVR influx over the past five years. And Campbell’s drafting of the order was one of the main issues fueling the recall campaign. Will this vote raise the hands of the recall in surrender or will it strengthen the resolve of Campbell voters who ride it?
Interestingly, the majority of Democrats on Council come from districts that haven’t had to grapple with the challenges and ravages of the vacation rental industry in their neighborhoods. And most of them are definitely pro-work, so when a union was a key signing on a plan like Campbell’s, that must be good, right?
Yet why does a union get such a pass? Why did a union take precedence over neighborhood priorities? There are lots of people working in District 2, lots of pro-work people, many of whom belong to unions. Many of them have resisted short-term rentals for years and are clamoring for some sort of protection against the loss of their community.
Why hasn’t there been a more transparent, broader and more generalized effort to fashion some sort of genuine compromise on the issue? Why hasn’t Campbell shown real leadership and guiding her district through hearings and reports, using people and resources from the district – who know a lot about LRTS, trust me?
Unfortunately for Campbell, however, the other council members and their constituents don’t vote on the recall – they’re just the constituents in District 2. And they’re not happy.