Is the Point Loma Association taking a stand on the hot topic of short-term vacation rentals?
Yes. But our position may surprise you.
Thanks to on-line platforms like Airbnb and VRBO, it is easier than ever for out of towners to live like San Diegans for a week, and for San Diegans to make a few extra bucks by inviting them in.
Now it’s become a big business. Investors are buying houses solely to rent them out, full-time. Problems arise when neither the owners nor the renters behave like neighborly San Diegans.
Some visitors assume they’re paying for a vacation from civility, behaving in embarrassing ways they’d never display to neighbors back home. Some absentee landlords don’t care, as long as the checks clear.
But many short-term San Diegans fit in just fine, valuing the charm of our communities, thankful for the chance to enjoy the ocean breeze without resort-level fees.
Some full-time San Diegans rent out a room or two. Some swap houses with people in other climes. “You surf. We’ll ski!” That’s happened for years.
Banning all short term occupancy is killing a fly with a shotgun. But allowing a lawless wild west is also unacceptable.
The San Diego City Council debated a proposed solution for most of a day recently. Then they kicked the can down the road when the complexity of the issue became clear.
The problem is not unique to San Diego. It vexes communities up and down the state in desirable coastal areas.
The California Coastal Commission has held three workshops in two years on the subject of maintaining affordable overnight accommodations near the ocean. The most recent gathering finally acknowledged that short-term rentals are a huge component in the debate – big enough to demand a separate discussion.
So what is the Point Loma Association’s stand? It’s pretty simple.
City and County leaders, working with the California Coastal Commission, need to thoughtfully, legally address the infection without killing the patient. Enforce laws on the books. Devise new rules as needed. Thread the needle.
Soon we will have new Council Members and a new City Attorney. Fresh eyes, reviewing options alongside seasoned public officials must rework legislation drafted before flip phones to resolve tricky issues for 2017 and beyond.
We are not experts in governing. But we are a strong voice for the people of our community. We, and other organizations, need to keep pushing for fair solutions to this and other issues. We need to advocate for public input, procedural transparency, and strong communication in the processes that produce those solutions.
That’s the role of the PLA.
Individual members, like all citizens, are welcome and encouraged to express their feelings and take personal stands.
That’s how it works.