San Diego City Council approves short-term rental regulations

Posted at 11:08 AM, Aug 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-02 02:12:50-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Following a heated battle over new regulations for short-term vacation rentals Wednesday, the San Diego City Council approved new regulations in a 6-2 vote.

The new rules will go into effect July 2019.

The rules, which were based on a plan by Mayor Kevin Faulconer, adopt the city’s first license-based system to manage the 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, and implement a per-night fee that would generate funding for affordable housing projects.

RELATED: San Diego City Council approves new rules on short-term rentals

Although the plan initially called for homeowners to be allowed two licenses for a primary and secondary home, the council later amended the provision before the plan passed its first vote in July.

Faulconer’s proposal was changed to allow a host to be issued a license for a primary residence and a dwelling on the same land as the primary residence.

Faulconer also had a provision in his plan allowing no limitations on the number of licenses available to hosts within Mission Beach when it was introduced in June. The mayor later amended his plan by allowing only existing operators of short-term rentals in Mission Beach.

After the first vote, the revised plan was praised by Council members Lorie Zapf, Barbara Bry, and Chris Ward.

RELATED: City Council members to make push for short-term vacation rental regulations in San Diego

Concerned homeowners and renters attended the council’s special session meeting to voice concerns on both sides of the issue, including possible loss of income and the city’s housing crisis.

What was supposed to be a routine action to certify a decision the city council made on short-term rentals may be illegal.

Council members voted to move forward with a meeting despite a warning from City Attorney Mara Elliott that it could be violating the state’s open meeting law, the Brown Act.

About ten words in the public notification for the meeting say the city’s proposed vacation rental regulations would exempt Mission Beach from the rules limiting rentals to primary residences. The error means people may not have been properly notified about the meeting, which could put the city at risk of lawsuits. City council members chose to move forward, regardless.

The language in section B, a mistake on Mission Beach, could derail today’s vote

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, the City Attorney's office said the council's vote is defensible because of years of public notifications, other related documents that were accurate, outreach from both sides, and media coverage. 

The second reading was required for the ordinance to become law. 

City News Service contributed to this report.