Local reaction to Mayor Faulconer’s short-term vacation rental proposal
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 06/14/18 - 04:12 PM | 1316 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mayor Kevin Faulconer
Mayor Kevin Faulconer
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Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s much-anticipated new regulations on short-term vacation rentals (STVRs) seeking to strike a balance between those who want them out, and the Airbnb industry promoting them, was greeted by both strong support — and vehement disapproval.

“Mayor Faulconer’s proposed ordinance is not only ill-conceived and unenforceable, it is also unlawful,” charged La Jollan John Thickstun, a spokesperson for Save San Diego Neighborhoods, a single-family neighborhood group formed to lobby for more restrictive short-term rentals.

In his initial reaction, Thickstun had a list of questions for the mayor to answer about short-term rentals. Among them: What are the definitions of “primary” and “secondary” residences?; will rentals be limited to property titleholders?; does the proposed ordinance prohibit an individual from purchasing any number of residential dwellings and having others hold title and use the residences as STVRs? Are STVRs to be limited to “living breathing human beings” as opposed to trusts, associations, corporations, etc.?

Philip Minardi of the Expedia Group, the parent company of vacation rental platforms HomeAway.com and VRBO.com, had a different take.

“For generations, whole-home vacation rentals have played an important role for San Diego homeowners and for families visiting the city,” said Minardi. “We applaud Mayor Faulconer and city staff on their efforts to craft a fair and effective policy that addresses community concerns and recognizes San Diego’s vibrant vacation rental community. We look forward to reviewing the proposal when it is released in full and welcome continued collaboration with all local stakeholders.”

Faulconer characterized his new proposal as seeking to “strike a balance between growing the home-sharing industry, enforcement and neighborhood quality of life.”

The mayor’s proposal would:

• Create the City’s first license-based system to manage short-term rentals.

• Charge cost-recoverable fees to administer licenses and enforce code violations.

• Establish a “Good Neighbor” policy to preserve neighborhood quality of life.

• Hire additional staff to respond to complaints about nuisance properties.

• Implement a per-night fee that would generate an estimated $3 million annually for affordable-housing projects.

“This is a balanced approach that establishes clear rules of the road for short-term rental hosts and guests while protecting neighborhood quality of life through increased oversight and enforcement,” Faulconer said. “This is a fair compromise that allows the home-sharing economy and our neighborhoods to co-exist and gives everyone clarity moving forward. I look forward to working with the City Council on passing these proposed regulations.”

Weighing-in on the mayor’s STVR proposal, Bob Vacchi, director of the City’s Development Services Department said, “The heart of the compliance angle lies within the good neighbor requirements provided to each guest for each visit. The policy outlines expectations for behavior during each stay so guests maintain respect for neighbors.”

According to Faulconer’s proposal, a maximum of two licenses can be issued to a host – one for their primary residence and one additional license for a secondary residence. Regulations would require a three-night minimum stay for coastal and downtown communities. Units with five or more bedrooms would first be required to obtain a Neighborhood Use Permit from the Development Services Department.

Monday, July 16 is the date during which the full City Council will discuss Faulconer’s proposal.
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