Many perspectives, 1 simple etiquette

SD City Council Fails To Compromise On Short Term Rental Framework

Author: Jeff Powers
Created: 12 December, 2017
Updated: 21 November, 2022
3 min read

Before a packed audience at Golden Hall at Civic Center San Diego, the San Diego City Council failed to provide a workable framework to regulate the Short Term Housing Rental market.

At 8:15 p.m., and after more than 11 hours of testimony and debate, a motion to pass the Bry-Zapf plan failed by a vote of 5-4. Those voting against were Council Members Sherman, Cate, Kersey, Ward and Alvarez. Council Members Bry, Zapf, Cole, and Gomez voted for the plan.

The  Bry-Zapf plan appeared to emerge as the preferred option over the  "Four Council Member Proposal" of Scott Sherman, Mark Kersey, Chris Ward, and David Alvarez. That plan would place a limit on Airbnb permits to a home's "primary resident," allow one additional permit that includes those out of town, and put a minimum on beach area rentals at 3 days.

The sticking point became that one additional permit.

It's not clear when the council will revisit this issue as it has not been docketed for debate.

City Attorney Mara Elliott and her staff have a number of additional amendments to consider, and will be working through those with the city council in the coming days and weeks.

San Diego is just the latest city to consider a proposal. The cities of Minneapolis and Seattle approved Airbnb proposals within the last two months. Airbnb is acting quickly, likely in an attempt to give them courtroom protections.

Short Term Rental Debate


Tom Lemmon, who manages the San Diego Building & Construction Trades Council, said at the meeting that the labor council supports Council member Bry's option and noted, "We think option one is the best for San Diego."

That sentiment was shared by Gretchen Newsom, the President of the Ocean Beach Town Council. Newsom said, "In alignment with the OB Planning Board, the Ocean Beach Town Council supports the regulatory Short Term Vacation Rentals proposal from Council members Bry and Zapf, which protects the rights of those who wish to rent our their entire primary residence on a short-term basis for up to 90 days per year, and allows for unlimited home sharing when the host is on site to supervise." Newsom continued, "It is the only proposal that prohibits investors from converting homes in our residential neighborhoods into permanent mini-hotels."


The second proposal, written by councilmen Scott Sherman, Mark Kersey, Chris Ward, and David Alvarez, would have capped the number of permits at three. It would have also required applicants to have owned a property for at least one year if they do not live in the home full time, and it would charge a per-night fee to fund affordable housing.

Before the meeting at Golden Hall, the California Coastal Commission sent a letter to the City of San Diego Planning Director last week announcing their support for key sections of the Councilmen's plan.

The letter dated December 8, 2017 and addressed to Jeff Murphy includes this paragraph, "we noted and endorse the inclusion of the additional off-street parking provision for home sharing within the beach impact area in the 'Four Council Member Proposal' and would ask for an explanation of why that limited use regulation was not similarly proposed for the whole home option. The beach impact area of the Coastal Overlay Zone is the very narrow two or three blocks along the shoreline within the City where protection of on-street parking supplies for the general public and coastal visitors. is a concern."