Stakeholders edge closer to vacation rental regulations
by DAVE SCHWAB
May 29, 2014 | 964 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On May 28, an ad hoc Stakeholders Committee edged closer to making recommendations on whether — and how much — to regulate short-term vacation rental properties that some believe have become a problem in La Jolla.

Jonah Mechanic, representing the rental industry, gave a presentation and a handout defending short-term rentals, insisting there are only a handful of “party houses” giving the industry a bad name.

“Less than 1 percent of short-term rentals in La Jolla are party houses,” claimed Mechanic, noting at recent ad hoc committee meetings that only four homes have been identified as problematic.

One local resident responded that that is a serious underestimate and understatement of the number of problem homes in the community, many of which he said have gone unreported.

La Jolla resident Mary Kinyon gave a suggestion she’d like the ad hoc committee to make to its parent body, the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA), which makes land-use recommendations to the city. “There should be a 30-day (minimum) limit on rentals,” she said.

The Ad Hoc Stakeholders Committee on Short-Term Vacation Rentals has offered the following suggestions for solutions to the perceived problem:

• Request a larger budget for the CAPP (Community Assisted Party Program) used by San Diego Police to regulate “party houses”;

• Increase fines for CAPP violators;

• Enforce collection of TOT (transient occupancy taxes) that lodging interests are required to charge guests; and

• Establish a permit process for short-term rentals, including fees dedicated to covering the cost of the permitting process and enforcement.

Ad hoc committee member Heather Weiermann spoke in favor of a short-term rental permitting system.

“If you have reasonable fees, people will pay taxes,” Weiermann said, adding that “taxing and licensing is one way to take the burden off the city and put it on the person renting the home.”

Ad hoc committee member Jim Fitzgerald said he didn’t believe anyone would have a problem strengthening the CAPP program, pointing out that the real issue is “how to deal with the problem behavior” and noting the focus should “start with the zoning.”

Member Mike Costello talked about a dozen or more other municipalities, including Coronado, Imperial Beach, Dana Point and Carmel by the Sea, that have acted to limit or prohibit short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods.

“Municipalities,” Costello said, “have used zoning regulations to restrict short-term rentals. Do not tell me I owe you my quality of life so you can make money.”
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