Short-term vacation rentals group backs more police response, tighter enforcement
by DAVE SCHWAB
Jul 14, 2014 | 1620 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Increased police response and establishment of a comprehensive permit process were among suggestions made by the Ad Hoc Stakeholders Committee on Short-Term Vacation Rentals at the group’s June 25 meeting.

Institution of a minimum seven-day rental term, allowing individual properties to be rented a maximum of 12 times per year, was discussed but voted down.

Committee recommendations will now be forwarded to the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) for further consideration by that citizens advisory group, which makes land-use recommendations to the city.

The ad hoc committee, comprising LJCPA members as well as representatives of homeowners and the rental industry, has been meeting for several months sorting through and debating problems associated with short-term vacation rentals considered problematic by some. La Jolla residents have increasingly come forward complaining that noise, partying, traffic and other problems caused by troublesome short-term renters have become an intolerable disruption, eroding neighborhood character.

Bird Rock resident Mike Costello, an outspoken opponent of short-term rentals, cast the lone dissenting vote on recommendations made by the five-member ad hoc committee. Costello said he felt the committee’s suggestions were too lenient and partial to the interests of those with a financial stake in the rental industry.

“These recommendations put the onus on the homeowners for enforcement,” said Costello, adding, “What we’re trying to do is stop abuse. What (the committee is) trying to do is promote the (rental) industry.”

Costello said he felt instituting a 30-day minimum rental term was essential to curbing abuses at troublesome short-term rental properties. He has called for more accountability from property managers/owners of such rentals, insisting they be required to provide adequate contact information at all times.

Ad hoc committee member and longtime community planner Jim Fitzgerald made a motion calling for strengthening the Community-Assisted Party Program (CAPP), which allows police to cite and ultimately take punitive action assisted by neighbors against rental property owners who fail to control troublesome tenants’ behavior.

Fitzgerald also proposed establishing a comprehensive permit process for short-term rentals as well as developing a code-of-conduct policy for renters, property owners and managers. It was also Fitzgerald’s motion to set seven days and 12 times a year as the parameters for restricting short-term vacation rentals.

“The CAPP program doesn’t work as well as intended, and we need to look at increasing the maximum fines (for offenders),” Fitzgerald said. “The key is increasing the penalties and allowing the house to be documented if it’s in violation.”

Ad hoc committee member Heather Weiermann, who works in the La Jolla vacation rental industry, argued that setting a minimum rental term of 30 days would effectively “create a ban” on short-term rentals, which she said is by definition 30 days or fewer.

In relation to short-term rentals, committee chair Helen Boyden pointed out that the group “had not covered anything to do with zoning issues.”

She pointed out that zoning is different, for example, in La Jolla Shores than it is elsewhere in the community.

Boyden also stressed that the ad hoc committee’s recommendations on short-term rentals are merely the beginning of the lengthy process of vetting the issues associated with problematic properties to determine what — if anything — needs to be done in terms of new rules or legislation to curb alleged abuses.

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